Morrison at his BEST!
New X-Men Ultimate Collection # 1 – Book 1
Holy cow! That’s not strong enough, that volume requires some high level “Whoa!” and “DID YOUO SEE THAT?” and all kinds of profanity (if you happen to condone such tings) to describe what a ride it was to read Morrison’s take on the X-Men. When you read the description on the back of the book which happens to, at the time of this review, match the description here on Comic Vine, it sounds like marketing BS. Every new writer is claimed to “have turned the (franchise name) on its (body part)” and “You’ve never seen (franchise name) like this!” This time it’s real. Like Frank Miller and Alan Moore, Morrison has brought grit to the X-Men universe. And it appears to have stuck, as I read today’s issues in the multitude of X-Books Marvel has seen fit to produce. Because this is a collection of issues and because it was originally released 10 years ago, I’m going to have some light spoilers here and there. I know there’s a spoiler button here on CV and I’ve used it on previous reviews. But that’s like using the spoiler button for Citizen Kane. If you don’t wish to see any of them, you can stop reading after the next sentence. If you like the X-Men and if you want to know where to jump on to get caught up with the current continuity, I can’t think of a better place to start.
Onto the review proper.
So I missed the bit between Onlaught and this one, but I got caught up on ComicVine. The storyline between these two was called Operation: Zero Tolerance. There are hints of it at the end of the Onslaught Complete Epic collection. It seems like it was probably pretty awesome. But it appears the only key thing that happened was that Magneto went to Genosha and created a mutant “Utopia”. Interesting as that’s what going on again in X-Men, only this time off of California instead of Africa.
The opening part about neanderthals being killed by humans really strikes parallel to current X-Men (issue 12-?) storyline with the Evolutionaries. Makes me a bit bummed as if they are just rehashing the same thing over and over. Although, in this case, it’s to convince someone they need to die. So it’s the same story, but for a different purpose.
The book explains the new feline look to Beast. Interestingly, there is a mutant baby boom in huge contrast to lack of mutants in current issues. (After the M thing – I am not completely caught up with X-Men’s past just yet) They mention the witchhunts of the previous storyline.
I love the retconned (maybe?) explanation of why they used to dress in spandex – because humans were used to trusting supers. I always love when they do these small inside jokes. Essentially they wear the same clothes as in the movies of the 2000s and this was Morrison’s way of explaining the corny old costumes. I think the movie just has them dismissed as a dumb idea.
Charles gets into the Cerebra (powered up Cerebro) And I wonder what’s going on with Charles? Onslaught again? Because it’s all about Charles’ darkness and all that. And I’m groaning because it hasn’t been a few years for me since I read Onslaught, just a day. But we don’t have a chance to see what that’s about just yet.
The genocide on Genosha was crazy! Whoa! Man, Morrison is brutal! I thought the 16 Million dead it refers to on the back cover were from the previous story line. No, it’s from this volume’s villian who goes on a mutant genocide. Although it does buy some sympathy from the masses. It’s nice that, for once, a large portion of the population is with the X-Men. Sure, they still have the ignorant fools protesting, but kids are pretending to be mutants because it’s cool. People are coming out of the closet. And more – but I’ll get to that in a sec.
Ah, now I see why Emma hates Jean so much in the current issues. The bitch exchange is hilarious. Also, she seems to be progressively inching in on Scott and so I can see why she’d be jealous of any thoughts of Jean he still harbors in the current issues.
Yo! Xavier goes on TV and admits to be a mutant?!? That’s crazy. And he goes and creates X-Corporation. And now in the modern times we have Batman, Inc. Morrison seems to have a thing for people lifting up the mask and admitting they are funding what was previously secret. And so the X-Men head to their Hong Kong office to investigate the murder of a mutant. And that’s when I realize that this X-Men series under Grant is more real world – more global. Where the old one was very local feeling (even when they were on another part of the world), this one feels like the modern times. And it should – written in 2001 when the Internet was exploding and were all feeling like the world was smaller. So things have consequences. People in China are affected by Charles’ appearances on Talk Shows.
And then we get a really interesting plot – kinda like people who feel they were born the wrong sex, this guy is targeting people who wish they were born mutants. So not only do people not hate mutants anymore, they want to actually gain mutant powers. And so this becomes the dominant story for a few issues. I love the flirting between Domino and Wolvie in China. It’s too bad that it doesn’t come to anything, but this is a very dense book with a very tight plot. Morrison has places to go and we can’t dilly-dally while Logan gets some. Then we find out the huge plot twist they’re TAKING the organs from mutants to give to the people who want to be mutant (selling, probably rather than giving) .
So this is where Scott becomes more “evil” and less of a Marty Stu. The stuff he has to deal with. He ends up blowing things up. Having to decide if people live or die. The seeds are being sown for him to be the leader he is in the 2011 issues of the X-Men comics. He has to act outside of Charles and grows mroe and more.
Interesting new mutant at the school – The Beak. Also a lot of the newer mutants don’t look like humans. I feel so bad for Beast and his cancelled date.
So the Prof goes on Vacation with Empress of Shi’ar Galaxy, his ex. That makes the current X-Man: Legacy 250 sub-story interesting because I, having just gotten back into X-Men and not having read more than a dozen issues in the 1990s had no idea who these Shi’ar were.
Oh, snap! Jean kisses Wolvie! Something happened in the previous story arc that everyone keeps referring to. And apparently Cyclops came back not quite himself. There’s direct reference to the fact that he’s not fulfilling his marital duties and so Jean feels alone. Logan is the bigger man. And that’s great. I love his character growth and that he doesn’t take advantage of the situation.
Oh, shit! That woman (from the E for Extinction) took over Charles! Maybe SHE is the one who went public? (Yes)
The whole organ harvesting line continues and things get really dark. I can see how this leads to Cyclops’ transformation. Especially when he’s captured. The fight with the organ harvesters at the school is great! Oh boy! Did Jean go Phoenix again?
So this book appears to have two climaxes – one against the organ harvesters and one against Cassandra Nova – who was Charles’ Twin or something. I didn’t 100% understand the explanation of what she was or why Charles tried to kill her in the womb. When they neutralize her, I don’t completely understand exactly what’s happened to her, but it’s still pretty neat. I also don’t understand why Xavier can walk now, but I’m sure they’ll get to that in volume 2.
What was great about Morrison’s run through this first volume? Other than what I mentioned above, it’s that he kept the stories going through different story arcs instead of a bad guy of the “week”. Across a year’s worth of issues there were essentially two bad guys even though there were a few story arcs.
What was bad? I didn’t completely understand Cassandra Nova’s motivations. I know what she told the guy at the beginning during the evolution section, but that didn’t seem to make sense. Why did she want to kill all mutants just because of Charles Xavier? I don’t know. It was a bit weak or maybe I missed something.
I can’t wait to start the next volume.
Things Start Coming together
Batman, Incorporated # 6 – Nyktomorph
Morrison’s Batman, Inc is really starting to kick off. It’s too bad there are only 3 issues left until the hiatus. Now that he’s practically got all of the Batmen in place, they’re staring to make a difference. And the bad guy from the last issue is starting to make his moves. I really can’t wait to see what happens next.
Highlight from this issue is Batman addressing what we’ve all been saying on the internet – doesn’t this make Wayne Enterprises a target? Apparently not as Bruce demonstrates.
A good issue and I can’t wait to see the story arc through.
A Great Start
X-Men: Legacy # 248 – Age of X: Aftermath, Part One
I started reading this story arc from issue #249 and it was so compelling I had to order a copy of this issue. Man, it REALLY makes me want to pick up Age of X when it comes out on trade paperback.
So, as it explains ni the opening pages, the X-Men were sucked into an alternate reality and when they came back, they still had those memories in addition to their original ones. It’s making it very hard for them to cope and is messing with some relationships. The results that start here in #248 are still being felt in #251 and may perhaps even end up contributing to confusion if X-Men Legacy ends up tying directly into Schism this summer. Definitely get this issue.