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.”