Sunday, October 28, 2007

UXP # 134: "Decimation # 1: X-Men"

House of M: The Day After, X-Men # 177-179, New Excalibur # 1-3, Uncanny X-Men # 466-468, New Excalibur # 4-5, (parts of) New X-Men # 20-22, Uncanny X-Men # 469-471, X-Men # 180 (1st half)

The X-Men are in response and recovery mode in the aftermath of House of M. As Bishop works in District X with Charlotte Jones, Cyclops rallies the X-Men around him. He opens the doors to any Mutants seeking refuge; Storm decides to stick it out in Africa; and Nightcrawler, Rachel, Psylocke, Juggernaut, Nocturne, and Shadowcat head off to England to check in on an energy spike there and Captain Britain.

It’s then that huge Sentinels arrive at the mansion just moments after an attack by the Leper Queen and her Sapien League. The X-Men contend with them before discovering they’ve arrived by order of the President with Val Cooper. Turns out these Sentinels are manned by humans and are ordered to protect the X-Men and the Institute. They help the X-Men fight off the Sapien League.

Meanwhile, across the pond, Captain Britain, Pete Wisdom, Sage, and the visiting X-Men get involved in a situation where the original X-Men and an evil Professor X “kill” Dazzler. Rachel and Kitty end up stuck in someone’s mind, nearly under evil Professor X’s control while Psylocke and Nightcrawler deal some of the others. Ultimately, Captain Britain, Sage, Juggernaut, Pete Wisdom, and Nocturne save the day. Pete Wisdom wants a new Excalibur then and there, but everyone turns him down. All but Juggs and TJ take off, dropping Rachel off at the Grey’s.

While Rachel spends time with the grandparents she never knew, Scott and Emma learn more about the deal with the Office of National Emergency. General Lazer is heading it up, with Colonel Reyes and Val Cooper working at the mansion with the Sentinels.

Unfortunately, at a Grey family reunion, a team of Shi’ar mercenaries called the Death Commandos show up and manage to wipe out the entire Grey family. Even Joey and Gaylin. The X-Men and Sentinels move in, but it’s all rather moot at that point.

Back over in England, She-Hulk manages to get Juggernaut free and the team comes together after encounters with the Warwolves and a dude named Albion and former Avenger Lionheart. Excalibur is then officially formed! Yay!

In Westchester, the school goes under some significant changes. Dani is fired, most of the human students are booted out, and Wolverine insists on X-23 returning to the school. Also, the kids all hang around a little something David whipped up called the Danger Cave.

Rachel sneaks out and over to Chicago, where she meets with Kitty’s old psychologist. The Death Commandos break out of jail and go to hunt her down, but the X-Men again step in and defeat them with the help of a Sentinel or two.

Finally, Lorna leaves the school as she no longer has powers. Alex decides to go with her. Oh, and Bobby turns out has his powers too.

Okay, so to be fair, it’s not the best summary in the world, but we’re talking about a lot of books here.

Individually, these stories (taken self-contained) are all rather good. “The Day After” is one of Claremont 2.0’s best works, as he manages to catch up with all the characters emotionally and deals in-depth with everything that’s been going on. There all sorts of small scenes that really shine out – Storm’s meeting with Cyclops (I think their first in a frillion years) and the conversation between Logan and Peter are nicely done.

“House Arrest” (X-Men) is a good story. It introduces the concept of the Sentinels monitoring the school, which was pretty neat at this point. The Bobby/Lorna/Alex triangle finally falls apart with some decent characterization on Lorna’s part. Bobby turning out to have powers is a bit of a misfire, I think, but oh well . . . he would have gotten them back eventually anyways. Scott and Alex get some much-needed interaction, tense as it may be.

“New Excalibur” is . . . okay. This book always felt to me like a dumping ground for left-over X-Men characters like Juggernaut, Sage, and Nocturne. I suppose it’s not terrible, but it’s a little hard to fit in with everything else.

“End of Greys” (Uncanny) is probably the strongest of the bunch. Brutal, intense, but straight forward and emotional. It’s a great story and again, probably among the strongest we’ve seen from Claremont 2.0 in a while. Seeing Scott’s emotional reaction to what has happened to his former in-laws is pretty nice. My biggest complaint is why now? Did the Shi’ar decide to kill them all in the aftermath of what happened in “Endsong?” I mean, that makes the most sense, but why now, right after the House of M? Gah, it bothers me. It’s good, mind you, but it still bothers me.

“New X-Men” is okay. I just stuck with the flashback sequences here to add context to the overall story. I’ll get to the meat of these stories in a few weeks.

“Wanderin’ Star” is decent, but not nearly as strong as showing as “End of Greys.” The Death Commandos crumble like a house of cards, which is silly considering they were a pretty huge threat just a few issues before hand. Rachel gets some good development, which is nice . . . but I’m just not happy with this story as a whole.

Overall, there’s a nice linear feel to all this. The Sentinels arrive at the end of “The Day After,” are dealt with in “House Arrest,” the team handles Europe in “New Excalibur,” return in “End of Greys,” where we see fall-out from “House Arrest.” It pulls together nicely, but . . . the stories themselves are all awkward and don’t fit in terms of tone – especially “New Excalibur.”

Furthermore, there’s very little done with “Decimation” here. We see Sentinels, alternate realities, and the Shi’ar – but there’s not much else dealing with the fall-out of House of M. That fact alone hurts all these. It’s disappointing.

As a whole, the individual stories are greater than the sum of their parts. There’s a lot of good character development found here, which is great . . . but it ignores the core aspect of Decimation, which is, in fact “No more Mutants.”

~W~

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Uncanny X-Periment # 133: "House of M"

Excalibur # 13-14; House of M # 1; Uncanny X-Men # 462; Mutopia X # 1 (up until page 3); The Pulse # 10 (page one only); House of M # 2 (up until page 19); Mutopia # 1 (rest of issue); Iron Man: House of M # 1-3; Black Panther # 7; Spider-Man: House of M # 1-5; Mutopia # 2-3; Fantastic Four: House of M # 1-3; Thunderbolts # 11; Incredible Hulk # 83-86; Uncanny X-Men # 463-465; Exiles # 69; House of M # 2 (rest of issue); House of M # 3 (up until page 15); Wolverine # 33-35; New X-Men # 16; House of M # 3 (rest of issue); House of M # 4; The Pulse # 10 (up until page 12); House of M # 5 (up until page 19, panel 5); Captain America # 10; House of M # 5 (rest of issue); The Pulse # 10 (rest of issue); New X-Men # 1-19; Exiles # 70; House of M # 6; House of M # 7; Exiles # 71; Cable and Deadpool # 17; Mutopia # 4; House of M # 8

As you can see from my read order, I got pretty particular in regards to how I read it. As this is a rather large and complex story, I found myself weaving in and out of various House of M stories and subplots. This read order allowed me to soak up all of House of M in one fell swoop, with a nice, world-view of the recreated Marvel Universe.

It’s difficult to define House of M, in some ways. Basically, it’s the story of the Scarlet Witch recreating the Marvel Universe into a place where she and her family and friends and even enemies could be happy. Unfortunately, it all comes tumbling down when Wolverine remembers what’s going on and with the help of a girl named Layla Millar, assembles various X-Men, Avengers, and other heroes to put an end to it. And what an end – turns out that everyone suspected Magneto telling Wanda how to create this new world, when it was really Pietro. And on top of that, a disgusted and unstable Wanda sets the world right . . . only with 98% of the Mutant population now reduced to humans.

I’m going to go through all of the satellite books and just kinda touch on them real quick:

Excalibur # 14-15

Mainly, this is all just set-up. I’ve pretty much ignored the whole Zanzibar story, concentrating on the parts that were the most important – the House of M prelude work. Doctor Strange is approached by Professor X in the hopes of getting help with Wanda. They go through a series of obstacles set-up by Wanda in Professor X’s mind, but get no further with helping her.

The art is decent. I’ve been a fan of Lopresti and I’m eagerly awaiting the day when he can really blow us away. The cover to issue 15 is probably my favorite out of all House of M. The story is not bad, but gets a little slow. We get nice insights to Xavier and Magneto, though, which really was the best that the second series of Excalibur had to offer overall.


Uncanny X-Men # 462-465

When Wanda remade the world, it created a trans-temporal tsunami that spilt all of the cross-time worlds into each other. It was all going to impact our world, and come smashing in due to a breach in England. Captain Britain and Meggan were dispatched to take care of it, but when they arrived, they were swept into the new reality. Likewise, Marvel Girl and Psylocke were spared from the change-over for some reason and were swept into it. While Brian deals with this unknown mission that he seems to not really remember, the gang is brought in to track down a rogue Mutant that has Magneto’s genetic signature. Turns out it’s Nocturne, who conveniently leads them to the breach. The mission now known to Brian, he attempts to seal the breach, but can’t. Meggan does and “dies.”

The story kinda goes on and on until it rushes itself to conclusion. It’s not that great. The art shift from Alan Davis to Chris Bachelo is harsh. The sacrifice of Meggan was nicely done, though. Everything was just kinda blah.


Spider-Man: House of M

Here we have Peter Parker living his dream life. Married to Gwen Stacy, with a little boy named Richie. Ben, May, and George are all alive. He’s making movies with MJ and is super-popular. J. Jonah Jameson is his bitch. Rhino is his bodyguard. But Peter begins to screw over his whole life by giving Jameson his old journal that contains his old life. Everything comes tumbling down for Peter until he eventually pretends to kill himself to save human/Mutant relations.

Bah, that’s a terrible description, but basically, this is nicely done, emotionally complex story by Mark Waid. It’s a highlight of House of M, despite it being a hard fit with the rest of the over House of M crossover. The art is good, but the coloring is rather spotty.


Iron Man: House of M

Hank Pym has found a way to kill Mutants with a biologically bomb. While Tony straddles the line of Mutant/human relations and dresses up in an Iron Man costume with Johnny Storm, Howard Stark is a jerk to him, trying to target Magneto. It ends with a bunch of people in robot suits saving Mutants.

This is not good. The art is decent . . . except for anyone not a robot. The writing is hackneyed and lacks any sort of insight or energy. It’s basically about Iron Man in House of M, drinking, being jerked around by his Dad, and flying around as Iron Man. There are two or three shining moments, but nothing great.

Fantastic Four: House of M

Doctor Doom, ruler of Latveria, is sick of being at Magneto’s beck and call – and so is his mother. So, with his Fearsome Four, Doom uses an opportunity given to him by Magneto to create an extra-dimensional prison to stop his rival. He succeeds, but Ben “It” Grimm rebels, releases Magneto and the gang, who promptly kill all but Doom – and makes his Mom beg to take her away from Doom.

This is another House of M highlight. Doom’s role in the House of M is great. He’s like his 616 counter-part, expect pissed at Magneto instead of Richards. It’s great. The Fearsome Four are a nice evil compliment to their goody-goody two-shows counter-parts. The art is nice and simple, too, offering nothing but support for such a fine read.

Hulk # 83-86

The Hulk and AIM overthrow Exodus and his anti-human government on Australia. Then, AIM starts to build an anti-Mutant army of cyborgs. Hulk smashes, Banner rules.

This was a fun one; yet another great story from House of M. The scenes with Gateway added nice introspection and insight into the Hulk/Banner. The battles were nice and action-packed. The pacing was good, the art was fantastic and there was just enough drama and comedy to keep it all popping. Kudos on this one.

Black Panther # 7

Black Panther and Magneto aren’t seeing eye-to-eye. After an attempted alliance fails with the other kingdoms for T’Challa and Sabretooth is sent back to Magneto, head only, Apocalypse is brought in . . . only to be defeated by Black Bolt.

It’s an interesting premise, but generally fails to take itself seriously. By the time Namor shouts “You’ve grown gills!” and Shanna and Monica start fighting, the whole story just falls apart. The art is too flaky and sketchy. And Apocalypse does say “old-school.”

Cable and Deadpool # 17

Deadpool returns to 616 thinking it’s an alternate reality in the hopes of retrieving Cable – who is now a baby under the care of Mr. Sinister. Eventually, Cable – because he is so powerful – defeats Sinister and Deadpool takes him back “home” . . . which is really . . . yeah.

Okay, see this is funny because it’s supposed to be funny. Deadpool is a funny character. I can take this seriously even though it is tongue-in-cheek. The story in it of itself isn’t much to offer either the characters or the overall House of M storyline, but it’s enjoyable all the same.

Thunderbolts # 11

I don’t quite understand this story. Some stuff happens. Captain Marvel kinda half-shows everyone what’s happening. Yeah. That’s it.

Captain America # 10

At a party honoring his first moon walk, an aged Captain America looks back upon his life and career, which eventually completely fell apart.

Another great book here. It’s adds a nice sense of texture and history of the recreated Marvel Universe. I like Caps’ POV of the entire rise of Magneto and whatnot. Very well done

The Pulse # 10

Kat Farrell tries to find a story in a SHIELD operation, only to come across Hawkeye – who is dazed and confused because he was dead and now is quite alive. He confronts Kat, talks to her about whatnot, then blows the crap outta this Sentinel monument.

This is a nice piece, working well to compliment the main series, while at the same time telling a decent character piece. Hawkeye’s irrational behavior and emotional confusion fits in very realistically to him being up and alive after a trusted and loved friend/teammate killed him.

New X-Men # 16-19

There seems to be some competition between the New Mutants Institute and the SHIELDS’ Hellions training units. Despite this, the blah blah blah.

I’m not impressed with this story at all. Again, it suffers from the same problems that has plagued it since it’s inception. There are too many characters and too much going on for me to invest my time and energy. The characters are lacking here, just basically carbon-copies of their 616 counter-parts – except for the ones that are the clich├ęd “We’re best friends really, but in this reality, we hate each other” characterization.

Exiles # 69-71

The Exiles seek to return Beak to his home-Earth (616, which is currently the House of M), only to find, well . . . duh. Here, Angel is a hawt model and Beak pines for her. However, when Proteus goes after Angel, Beak and the Exiles are drawn in. Eventually, Proteus and the Exiles manage to leave the reality while Beak and Angel face a re-shaping reality.

This was a pretty decent story. The Exiles questioning whether or not they should change the House of M is nicely handled, as well as Blink’s comparison with it and the Age of Apocalypse. Proteus is a neat villain and seeing Moira again is pleasant. Overall, a good comic.

Wolverine # 33-35

Wolverine has gone nuts and Shaw brings his girlfriend Mystique in for questioning. We’re quickly showed a flashback to a botched mission a few weeks ago that allowed Wolverine to have fuel to continue on – a feud with Nick Fury.

I found this story confusing, boring, and overall inconsequential. The journey down memory lane is nice in an alternate reality, but in this case, it’s just a big misfire. No thanks.

Mutopia # 1-4

What we have is police officer Izzy Ortega, who during a gig protecting mogul Daniel Kaufman, ends up hooking up with Kaufman’s wife, Laura. Meanwhile, Ortega’s home life sucks as his daughter hasn’t turned into a Mutant yet and his wife comes off as having a problem with that. Izzy is offended and when the affair comes to life . . . well, yeah, the shit hits the fan. Plus, there’s this terrorist after Izzy. It all culminates at this place called Mutopia, where Izzy and his wife hope that Mr. M will activate his daughter’s powers. The terrorist – now working for Kaufman – goes in to shoot Izzy, misses, and hits the newly transformed daughter. Then the House of M ends.

At some point, I plan on picking up all of “District X” and thus appreciate this story a little more. Overall, it’s good. It adds a lot of ground-level texture to House of M. The characters are all very well-realized. A good book.

House of M

Ah, and here we are.

The X-Men and the Avengers gather at Avengers Tower to discuss the fate of Wanda Maximoff. Killing her is even brought up. Quicksilver goes to Genosha to talk to his father about Wanda, only to find him unable and unwilling to do anything. The X-Men and the Avengers go to Genosha themselves to deal with the problem. Shortly after arriving, the world gets turned upside down with everyone living out their dreams. And there is the flaw in the world. Wolverine, who gets all his memories back, ends up with the memories of what really happened. He abandons the SHIELD helicarrier and eventually hooks up with Luke Cage and his gang, who have been told by Layla Millar about the real world. With them is Hawkeye. This group then goes after Emma Frost and Cyclops, then collects She-Hulk, Daredevil, Spider-Man, Sentry, Doctor Strange, and a bunch of others and again goes to Genosha to crash Magneto’s birthday bash. Once there, everyone takes care of the guests (many of them friends) while Doctor Strange confronts Wanda. After it’s discovered that it was Quicksilver that told Wanda to make this world and not Magneto, Magneto goes after Quicksilver. Wanda stops him and turns the world right – except for that key phrase “No more Mutants.” The world goes back to normal with 98% less Mutants.

I remember reading this the first time and finding it to be good, if not far too drawn out. However, now that the story is done and the issues have been sitting around waiting for me, I’ve found it’s a much stronger as a whole. Bendis delivers a strong story here, one that really reaches out and impacts the overall Marvel Universe – but still has strong characterization. I found the House of M reality very interesting and nicely detailed. For all the criticism Bendis gets about characterization, he really nails a lot of the characters well here. Spider-Man’s angst over what this new world/new life means to him. Cyclops stepping up and taking command, with Emma Frost by his side. Even characters like Doctor Strange are very well portrayed.

Quicksilver, Magneto, and Wanda are all very good here. Wanda especially comes off as very sympathetic and much more interesting a character than she did in “Disassembled.” In an overall sense, the Maximoff family is constantly self-destructing. We consistently see these three characters crash into each other. Scarlet Witch is almost as always the victim, Quicksilver is the trouble maker with all the father issues, and Magneto is the one looking to take advantage of it and often times lashing out at his son. It’s no different here. In fact, the best scene in this crossover is the emotional confrontation between Pietro and his father. It’s raw and emotional and quite effective.

There are few other nuggets out there. I really liked Spider-Woman’s comments that this may just be how Mutantkind is supposed to rise to power and take its place at the top of the evolutionary food chain. Layla Millar is a fun character, though a little convenient.

For all the Bendis love, though, there are some problems here. First of all, wouldn’t it have been simpler to take the sample of the Mutant cure and give it Wanda, effectively shutting down her Mutant powers? Sure, Magneto might have a problem with that, but it’s the X-Men and the Avengers. They can handle him while someone pokes her with it real quick. Unfortunately, it’s not even mentioned.

Secondly, this is billed as Avengers/X-Men crossover, when really, it’s more like “The X-Men guest-starring the New Avengers.” The Avengers have a role, but in a way, it’s kinda like they’re passing the Wanda problem off the X-Men and then just sticking around and hanging out. In fact, there’s more impact in this story for the X-Men then the Avengers, which I know irks Avengers fans as it made the ending seem rather flat to them.

Finally, I liked Hawkeye role in the “you killed me, brought me back yadda yadda yadda” character position, but it was rendered ineffective. We don’t see him fully return for what, a year? It’s pointless. I would have rather seen Hawkeye pop back up at the end, say “I need a vacation” and run off. It would have made the tie to Avengers a lot stronger and would have been better in the long run.

Now, as for the art, this book is beautiful. Absolutely gorgeous. The designs, the facial expressions, the lay-out, the colors . . . everything.

As an overall, House of M is a little mixed. There are some nice golden stories, but some stinkers too. It had a nice, strong impact on the Marvel Universe – which is odd, as it is basically an alternate reality tale.

Next up: Decimation!

~W~

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Uncanny X-Periment # 132: "Another Year Ends"

Uncanny X-Men # 460 (2nd half) – 461, X-Men # 175, Black Panther # 8, X-Men # 176, Black Panther # 9, New X-Men # 14-15, New X-Men: Yearbook Special

Well, it’s the end of Xavier’s second school year with an entire Mutant student body. And what drama is abound!

Firstly, Juggernaut and Nocturne show back up after being deposited in the Mojoverse. Mojo and Spiral follow, turn the X-Men into the X-Babies and chase them around with lawyer versions of the Exiles. Juggernaut gets weepy over fish-boy and eventually, they all win out. Yay.

After this, the X-Men head to Niganda, which boarders Wakanda. There, the X-Men and Storm are confronted by Mutant animals created by the vile Doctor Paine. The Red Ghost gets involved and Paine teams up with the X-Men and Black Panther to take down the Red Ghost and his evil monkeys that nearly kill everyone. In the end, all is defeated and Storm decides to remain in Africa.

Finally, back at the school, the year is winding down and the New Mutants squad is fracturing. Turns out that Josh’s relationship with Rahne came out and Rahne has gone running off to X-Factor. Josh’s love interest in Laurie has run off, using her powers on David as revenge. Meanwhile, David is staying away from Nori because he’s afraid of her going BOOM due to a quasi-vision he had of the future. And Jay is just kinda there, with Sophia and Julian having the hots for each other and Kevin just watching from afar. Oh, what teenage angst webs we weave! The drama reaches its high point at the Prom, and then both the Hellions and the New Mutants must team-up to save Prize Giving Day from the Blob. Afterwards, the New Mutants head to the lake for a campfire, where they reconcile their differences. It’s a wonderful ending.

It’s all pretty poor. The X-Babies were funny twice, and have been a worn-out joke since. And I don’t like Mojo. He’s not even very funny here.

As for “Wild Kingdom,” it was just too silly to be taken seriously. Really, the Red Ghost? Doctor Paine? I mean, kudos on bringing Storm to Africa and giving her some well-deserved development, but seriously, did we need a mini-crossover to do that?

Lastly, the New Mutants just kinda shot itself in the leg. It suffers from the same problems it always had – too broad a net; too many characters, too many relationships, and just generally too much. Thanks, but no thanks. I like that it all ended on a high note and considering what happens to them all next, it’s pretty bittersweet.

~W~

Monday, October 08, 2007

Uncanny X-Periment # 131: "Golgotha"

X-Men # 166-174

Note: Just putting this out there. From here on out, expect up-dates to come weekly, usually Sundays or Mondays. I'm as of now back-logging, so there will certainly be up-dates every week. This is done so that current storylines are caught up by the time we get to them. Thanks!

Well, first off, the X-Men are confronted by strange, fungus-like aliens who feed off people's inner demons, sparking 24 hours of craziness before the alien break out of their shell and head somewhere else. After messing around in the Antartic, Calvary, and LA, the X-Men face down the alien at the mansion. Emma faces aging; Gambit and Rogue struggle with their lack of touch - culminating with a shared kiss between Rogue and Wolverine; and Alex, Lorna, and Bobby act like high schoolers. In the end, the team heads into space and destroys a whole fleet of them. During this, Lorna claims to have 'seen something.'

After this, the X-Men get a new student in the form of the sexual Foxx, who joins Gambit's group. She flirts with Gambit, hitting on him and wanting him, which furthers the wedge between he and Rogue and causing all sorts of problem with his group. It's then revealed that it's really Mystique, who is making sure Gambit is right for her and not just another floozy to him. She even offers herself up to Gambit, looking like Rogue. When everyone else finds out, Rogue asks to join the team. As the senior X-Men vote, Nightcrawler confronts his mother and asks her to leave so he can "wrap his head" around the idea of her being an X-Man. Mystique takes off even after the X-Men are prepared to offer her a probationary place with the team.

We've entered into Milligan's run here and it's definetly a strange one in comparison to other X-Men runs. The threat of Golgotha and Foxx are almost non-existent compared to the drama that has overcome the characters. Milligan has taken to treating the Lorna/Bobby/Alex love triangle like it's something straight out of the 10th grade. The dialogue is pretty immature. Granted, none of these characters are in the best place, but still . . .

Rogue and Gambit get a better treatment, with their relationship going from cute (the space-suit kiss was adorable) to pure self-destruction. The touching thing was not as much of an issue during the "will-they/won't-they" part of their relationship, as the issue back then was if they can trust each other. However, now that they've gotten together and Rogue's powers are back in full, where does this leave their future? Milligan does a good job here, and we see the little things about Rogue and Gambit's relationship come out. Sleeping in the same room, telepathic attempts at being intimate. It doesn't compeletely work out, but it's far more than just "I can't touch you! Wahhh!"

And of course, there's always the trust issue, which comes back here with the temptations of Foxx/Mystique. Rogue is a little firery and quick to blame considering that she had just locked lips with Wolverine. Milligan seems to forget that pretty quickly.

And she also has new fire powers.

It's not a bad start and certainly a lot better than Austen's work . . . even if it does feel shallow at times.

~W~

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Uncanny X-Periment # 130: "Phoenix Endsong"

X-Men: Phoenix Endsong # 1-5

Basically, what we have here, is a bunch of Shi'ar decide to bring back the Phoenix so they can destroy it. The Phoenix survives the Shi'ar's attack and heads to Earth, where it accidently wakes up Kid Omega, then tries to get to Scott to feed off his optic blasts -- and to love him like it did when it was Jean.

The Phoenix eventually revives Jean's body. The X-Men chase after her while Kid Omega emerges, pulls up Sophie's corpse, and wants the Phoenix to bring her back to life. Jean "kills" herself and the Phoenix joins with Emma Frost. Phoenix revives Sophie, who promptly rejects Kid Omega. Jean emeges then and pulls the Phoenix out of Emma and into her. She then has a chance to say good bye to all of her loved ones and dies again.

There's something odd about this story. It comes off very much like a swansong for Morrison's run. I'm a little surprised to see it, to be honest. The Phoenix was pretty much dealt with. Kid Omega was done. The Shi'ar hate the Earth. There wasn't much point to this story other than to run around with Morrison's toys.

However, despite the lack of necessity for this story, it's enjoyable. It's sentimental. Jean/Phoenix are both very well-written. Scott really shines through as someone who has control over his actions, despite the fact that he's struggling between his wife and his girlfriend. He's probably the best portrayed here; very well-rounded and aware. His relationship with Emma is shone is a great light, making it seem more than just simply "we're having sex" -- which is what it came across as for a while.

I have to question just why the Shi'ar brought the Phoenix back when it was already dead? It's a confusing point. Wouldn't that be like resurrecting Hitler just to kill him again? Whatever.

The art is quite beautiful, though from what I've heard about Greg Land, I'm not sure if I can trust it. The Phoenix effect - while tired at this point - is really quite awesome-looking in here. And he does do great facial expressions.

Ultimately, it's an enjoyable book. I wish there was more of a point to it, but it's a good farewell to Jean. Again.

~W~