Astonishing X-Men # 25-31
The X-Men are joined by Storm and are swiftly asked to consult on a murder. A man if found floating and burning. After inspecting his DNA, Beast concludes that he’s an artificial Mutant – he has three strands of DNA, not two. And this artificial Mutant was chasing down someone by the name of Subject X. Subject X is found on an alien spaceship dumping ground, where he is charging something called a Ghostbox. The X-Men destroy the ship he’s on, steal the Ghostbox, and Subject X kills himself. Doing more research and consulting with Agent Brand, they discover that Ghostboxes are basically bridges between alternate worlds and that Subject X was a Mutant from another planet. The X-Men believe that the artificial Mutants and the alternate reality Mutants are waging a secret war.
Researching the artificial Mutant’s records, they journey to a dead zone in China called Tian, where they found half a floating palace and half a fallen palace. Within, they confront more artificial Mutants and learn they were created by Forge. They find Forge at Wundagore Mountain, where he has his own team of New Mutants (artificial ones), ready to invade the alternate reality. Forge claims that the alternate reality Mutants are planning on annexing this world – they’ve sent one scouting team, which Forge killed; the second one was wiped out by Forge again. The X-Men frown upon this, Forge opens the Ghostbox, demanding that the X-Men listen to him. The X-Men don’t and instead, blow the crap outta Wundagore Mountain with the help of SWORD mega-laser. The laser’s main beam journeys through the Ghostbox into the alternate reality. Forge and the fake New Mutants dead and the staging area for the invasion assumed destroyed, the X-Men head home.
So, the good. Well, marks for creativity. Though the story was way too confusing and sometimes I had to remind myself what exactly was going on, it was at least interesting and more creative than what we’ve seen from the X-Men in a good while. Character-wise, it’s a little all over the place. Armor got annoying after a while, what with her quips and Twitter and what-not. Wolverine was . . . well, Wolverine. Same with Emma. Cyclops was hardcore and Storm was shallow at times. Beast was pretty consistent. However, the interaction between these characters is one of the high points; especially when it came to death and killing.
Of course, after the moral debates, no one bothered to try and save Forge. Forge’s biggest issue was that no one really respected and everyone just kinda used him, then dismissed him. How is that not true? Granted, he’s done some crazy shit, but he’s dedicated so much to Xavier’s dream and rarely gets any love. By anyone.
Forge’s betrayal and descent into insanity layers a story that has one too many turns. And ultimately, I didn’t feel much at the end of this story other than that Forge kinda got screwed over by the X-Men. I should have, though. Forge – sure, he had a couple of break-downs – but he’s been such a loyal character over the years. He only “went insane” once and that was when he first appeared. He had his shaman powers, which helped defeat the Adversary. When the X-Men were ‘dead’ after that, he helped fill in for them. His death (?) was way over the top and the fact that the X-Men left him behind troubles me.