Comics Review: New X-Men

Things Really get Real
New X-Men Ultimate Collection # 2 – Book 2
At first the book continues directly from the previous one. We learn that Prof X can walk because Xorn healed his spine (although I thought it was that his legs were crushed? Perhaps that was retconned at some point). Prof X is working on a Cerebra upgrade to telepathically remote-control mutants to help them get out of dangerous situations? No possible way that could go wrong! Sometimes Xavier really does carry the idiot ball. (Although it ends up not being a plot point so far)

I really liked the meditative first issue focusing on Xorn. He’s spent nearly all his life isolated in a box. So it was pretty neat to see him going through Chinatown. And he had to experience both the good and the bad of humanity. He’s turned out to be my favorite or second-favorite character of the New X-Men run.

We then move on to the Fantomex story arc. This is his debut and it’s a bit confusing. At the end I’m a bit confused about what has taken place and what is a result of his misdirection mutant ability. Scott goes to Emma for help with his this can’t be good in Morrison’s realistic world where people aren’t all innocent, even if they’re with the good guys. Also, Jean is Phoenix again….wtf? Apparently Fantomex is an amazing theif and wow, he’s stolen some crazy historical things! (Or has he?) So Fantomex explains the Weapon program in the government. The way the dialog is written, it seems as though up until this point, Marvel had never made it clear that Wolverine was Weapon X as in Weapon 10 as in the 10th one they tried to create. The sad thing is that what he describes is rooted in history – all governments, ours included, has conducted highly illegal human research. And it looks like things got crazy at that research center because Weapon XII is crazy! Human evolution plus sentinels. Holy crap! Again, I feel that Morrison is doing a good job bringing reality to the Marvel Universe. Of course, the government wouldn’t have given up just because Wolverine escaped their control.

Because this is a Morrison book, there’s tons of imagery. I’m missing most of it, but I love the imagery with Fantomex and the Egyptian artifact. The reveal that Fantomex is Weapon XIII? Very interesting.

Then it seems that Morrison gives them a bit of a break from fighting external threats and it moves to internal threats. Beast warns Emma not to mess with Jean and Scott’s marriage. And while she is definitely acting with bad intentions, the fact that Scott has asked her to be his sex/marriage therapist is not good. He’s playing with fire. Also, it’s like a mental affair. Her dressing up in Jeans old costume for roleplay is just messed up!

The X-Men go to Genosha to see if anyone or anything survived. It was interesting, but I don’t understand exactly what happened with Magneto and the flight recorder box. The part with his daughter, Polaris was crazy, too. But I think she’s just suffering from PST

Wolverine in Afghanistan was pretty interesting. Too bad he doesn’t exist in real life. Could probably get some sense into people out there once they realized they couldn’t kill him. Also, Fantomex made a return. Maybe he’s the stealth big bad of this volume? Nope. It turns out that he doesn’t appear again in volume 2.

It was sad when Xavier got his marriage to the alien Shi’ar queen anulled. Scarily it looks like the Phoenix Force is def back. So I’m curious to see what Jean is going to end up doing. Also, I was right on Beast just pretending to be gay to get back at his ex

The next section with the students protest and drug use was what put me on the fence about this volume and eventually knocked it from 4 stars to 3.5 stars. On the one hand, it goes along with Morrison’s M.O. – bring realism to the Marvel Universe. Of course some subsection of the Xavier school, which appears to be high school and college level, would be drug users. And, unlike every other time I’ve seen drugs appears in comics, Morrison does a great job in not making the storyline read like a “very special” story arc. Yes, it does lead to some deaths, but so do drugs in real life. Yeah, in real life lots of people do drugs without dying, but some OD and others just have the wrong physiology and die the first time they try a drug. And, again, high school and university kid think they know everything. It’s no coincidence that it’s always the college kids that regimes around the world worry about. They think they know how to fix the world and it mostly involves them displacing the old people in charge. So some realism comes to the school in the form of a group of kids that idolize Magneto in the way that kids idolize Che. So they attempt a protest and takeover of the school. And, while I appreciate what Morrison was trying to do, it just didn’t do it for me. I’m far enough out from college that I just see them as a bunch of trouble-making jerks that won’t listen to the adults who are just trying to help them not be so destructive.

Mixed in with this storyline is a camping trip that Xorn takes the Welcome Back Kotter (or every movie since Dangerous Minds) class on in an attempt to teach them they aren’t losers and don’t have to act that way. Again, most of this story didn’t quite strike the right nerves for me. But it did show that, contrary to what I thought at the end of book 1, the U-Men are still around trying to harvest mutant organs.

Emma’s girls have a falling out with her over something that happens during the protest story arc. So they let Jean know what’s going on between Scott and Emma. This leads to us finally finding out what happened in Hong Kong – short story: nothing. Also, Wolverine and Domino did make good on all that flirting back in Hong Kong. Jean gets even more Phoenix-y and yet most people continue to trust that she’s got control.

The book ends with an issue or two in which Emma was murdered. By the end we’re not 100% sure who murdered her. Or, if it’s been completely shown, there are other actors doing other things that are a little confusing. In other words, people who seem to have nothing to do with the person the book presents as the killer have been trying to obstruct the case and/or murder the investigators.

In the end, how much you enjoy this volume will depend on whether you find the student shenanigans to be annoying or not. Again, I like that Morrison went there and made the students more realistic. The X-Men have, on average, been very good-two-shoes so it’s good to see this realism and that the school is not a Utopia. Also, there appear to be a lot of story beats in Morrison’s series that are being realized in the current X-books with the Utopia island and all that; including the shirt one of the rioting kids wears being mentioned in Uncanny X-Men 534.1. Things are still overall interesting, but I hope volume 3 focuses a bit more on the adults.

A Crazy End to Morrison’s New X-Men Run
New X-Men Ultimate Collection # 3 – Book 3
This review has a lot of spoilers because of the fact that it’s collecting something like a year’s worth of issues. If we were going issue by issue, I’d be able to talk about issue 9’s spoilers in issue 10’s review if they had relevance.

This volume starts off a little after the last one. Some stuff has happened “off screen” and we pick up with Summers in a bar. This volume gets pretty crazy pretty quickly and it’s definitely a solid ending to his run. But I missed out on some clues, apparently. But it’s an important read that explains how a lot of the X-Men universe got to be the way it is today.

So it turns out that Scott is at the Hellfire Club. If I understand what the worker tells Scott, then the girl dancing is actually really fat, but she’s a telepath that makes each customer see what he’d want to see. Wolverine shows up and his scene with Sabertooth in the bathroom is funny. At the very least, I don’t think I’d ever read a comic that had a scene like that. And so Wolverine is finally on a quest to find out about his past. I wonder if this leads to Daken and/or X-23? I think it’s crazy that Scott quit the X-Men. We find out he’s being dragged along with Wolverine and Fantomex on a trip to the Weapon Plus facility.

And the Weapon Plus facility is crazy. A whole biosphere for experimentation. The genetic war theme continues in the Fantomex story arc. Ah, now I see. They wanted to created an awesome super hero team to get the public excited before they killed the mutants. Why are these people so vitriolic in killing the humans? The answer is provided later.

Looks like Hank succeeded in putting Emma together. No resolution whatsoever on the previous investigation, but I guess it’s not done yet since Wolverine said Cyclops was a possible suspect.

And there’s a huge reveal! I’m not very happy with Xorn being someone in disguise. I really liked his character and I felt that a lot of the emotion was genuine. Perhaps he’ll turn out to be real and someone is impersonating him right now? Or maybe if I got back through the first book now it’ll be obvious? How was he Magneto? What the hells? I didn’t get this until reading the sublime article on comic vine, but it’s not magneto in this storyline – it’s Xorn thinking he’s magneto – which explains a lot of the stuff people say to him. Especially the girl who keeps asking him when Xorn’s coming back and sounding kinda dumb. Well, it turns out he went crazy, but I don’t think it’s ever mentioned how or why it happened? Perhaps the stuff that happened in the last book was just too much for his mind to absorb since he’d been locked up all this time? But if that’s the case, why does he look like Magneto? Are we seeing what he sees in his head? Before when they took off his mask people died. Is it a retcon that it wasn’t really Magneto? And we finally find out who Esme was working for.

Wow, I can’t believe we’re still dealing with the consequences of the New X-Men run in today’s comics. (Ten years later in real life time) Again, as I mentioned in my Vol 2 review, I think what’s about to happen with Magneto was referenced in the recent Uncanny X-Men and is part of the reason why they had to leave NYC. Time will tell. So Xorn’s class becomes the new Brotherhood

Magneto having to deal with soundbites and the youtube attention span is hilarious! Good job there Morrison on bringing the X-Men into the real world. Everyone said Jean Grey died during Morrison’s run, I’d never have guessed who it was that killed her.

And so this is where Scott Summers finally comes into his own and becomes the leader he has never before been. Especially the battle against Magneto where Cyclops rages; which is awesome! Also awesome that Beast has figured out how to cure humanity’s gene problem

The “Here Comes Tomorrow” Storyline had me very, very confused. Basically, it was Morrison’s little Age of Apocalypse storyline. He got to show a future where Scott had lost hope because of Jean’s death. Also, although it was extremely confusing, we’re introduced to Sublime. And it turns out that HE was the big bad of the ENTIRE Morrison run.

In the end, he had a pretty awesome run. It wasn’t too confusing and it shook up the X-Men books in a way that is still being felt today. And I think it was mostly for the best. I’m definitely glad I decided to go back and read these stories.

Author: Eric Mesa

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