Monday, May 27, 2024

The X-Men Face New Realities

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Four issues into this run and I’ve actually been pretty okay with there not being a set defining arc yet. The team behind this comic has been doing a pretty awesome job at building the world of X-Men: Blue to set it apart from other ResurrecXion titles, especially X-Men: Gold. The first issues focused more on Magneto’s sudden change in allegiance and taking the time displaced mutants under his wing and Jean Grey stepping into the leadership role for the first time.

The further we read, however, the more focused on the entire team, both wholly and individually, the story became. While this may or may not be the start of a traditional arc, the start of this story is promising. Still, I’m hesitant because the next title is advertised to be a tie in to the current Secret Empire crossover event. We’ll have to wait and see how that turns out.

Back to X-Men: Blue. The last time we saw the X-Men they were investigating a small snowy town where a police officer and a few civilians had been plagued by an attack from a mutant named Wendigo. While there, the mutant son of another Universe’s Wolverine attacked them, a boy named Jimmy Hudson who showed signs of mental blocks that inhibit Jean Grey’s telepathic powers. They then headed to a bar, where they were seemingly attacked by a group of mutants from Jimmy’s Universe called the Marauders.

Multi-Universe Conflict 

This issue relies heavily on an action packed battle sequence that fills up most of the comic. I mean that not as a criticism. The last four comics had a great balance of action and backstory. This one decided to take a different approach and have most of its storytelling done while the fighting was going on. Not bad, just different. The battle centered mostly on Jean Grey, but we still get good plot elements during the rest of the team’s fight with the Marauders.

The fight itself proves to be just as much as a mental ordeal as a physical one considering some of the other Universe’s mutants are the same as those in the current one. The marauders are made up of Mach 2, Quicksilver, Armor, The Guardian, and an unknown force controlling things from the sidelines. The big fight is pretty evenly matched as the Marauders know who best to focus each of their powers on. With Jean Grey suddenly going into a trance like state while trying shut some of the mutants down, things only get tougher for the team.

Always classy, Bobby

What I liked most about this fight is that it was the first time we get to see the team in action and utilizing each of their powers and ability to strategize effectively. Granted when they faced off against Nimrod’s Sentinels they were fighting more than one. But here it was much more of a realistic approach to how well organized they can be.

The fight had some clever and quirky dialogue that kept the action packed sequence fun and light hearted. Now I know the series isn’t especially known for its dark themes, but there are some tones in previous issues that I would like to see returned.

The fight eventually ends in a stalemate due to the Marauders’ decision. Jimmy pins down Mach 2, who has now realized that even though she can manipulate his metal skeleton, he can still resist her power using his bone claws. However, something goes on in his mind from the force controlling the Marauders, and he suddenly runs away as they chase after him. Who is this force? And how are they able to control Jimmy and the other mutants?

A Sinister Twist

While this fight is going between the X-Men and the Marauders, Jean does try to help with some mind blasts but ends up being approached telepathically by the group leader, Miss Sinister. Jean’s first act of course is to find out what they want and why they are here. It turns out that when certain universes cease to exist, there is a chance that survivors of these events can be dumped into other realities. As was the case with Miss Sinister’s world, which had several heroes and mutants of other realities appear in her world. As she studied them, she was drawn to the power and knowledge she could attain from their study. Jimmy Hudson was one of these mutants to appear but he went rogue. She is here with her team to get him back.

I tried to think of a pun but none were sinister enough

By the time Miss Sinister has spent enough breath on treating with Jean, she lets her go with last words about how going from one reality to another erases the memory of those affected. That, and she  plans on using all these mutants under her influence as weapons. Yet now that the hunt for Jimmy has led her to an even more powerful mutant, Miss Sinister has her eyes set on Jean. She lets them go, for now, and we can bet this isn’t the last we’ve seen of her.

The team decides to take Jimmy back to Magneto who agrees that he would be a good asset to the team and probably wouldn’t be accepted at Kitty Pryde’s school. The issue ends with lots of questions. What is Miss Sinister’s endgame? How powerful is she? Does the team have what it takes to bring her down if need be?

The Art

Lopez, Smith, and Kniivila succeed in giving the comic a good feel to match its tone. Light hearted and fun just as the exciting battle scenes are. With new mutants with powers we’ve never seen, it’s great to see how well they’re used in an artful adaptation. One of my more favorite mutant powers of this comic was Armor; the power to create shapes and weapons out of force fields gives her near endless possibilities for forms she can take.

Yet, what I loved most in this comic was the fight between Bobby Drake and Quicksilver. I feel like poor Iceman and his powers have been overlooked in the past. To see him at full potential is a pleasure.

Now that’s what I call dragon armor!

Final Thoughts

This was a great entry to the series and hopefully the start of what could be a seriously good story. After the series’ tie in to Secret Empire, which will hopefully just be a one-time thing, I really hope they return to this plot line. We were left with a lot to hope for and some really great writing and art that flowed like a fun family blockbuster. Yet with so many other villains from the previous issues running around, like the Hellfire Club and Nimrod, I hope the series doesn’t get overwhelmed by the plot devices and villains that have already appeared and collapse on itself.

Final Score: 8/10

Images Courtesy Of Marvel

X-Men: Blue #5 credits

Writer: Cullen Bunn

Artists: Julian Lopez & Cory Smith

Colors: Irma Kniivila

Letters: Joe Caramagna

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