Friday, June 21, 2024

The X-Men Confront a New but Familiar Reality

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Now this is almost exactly what I look for when it comes to continuity in a comic run. While the issue might not have been the most exciting in the series thus far, it does fulfill every writers promise to its reader by not leaving any significant event, no matter how distant, without some sort of reprise.

Instead of packing the book with lots of action, which we’ve seen in the previous three issues, the writers took a step back to the debut in order to dispel the mystery cast over its very elusive post ending scene. We get a lot more dialogue this time around which is always a good thing considering how charismatic every mutant is under Jean Grey’s command. We get a lighter look at them together—contrary to just seeing them on their own like with Jean Grey and Hank—and truly begin to understand what it means to be in a team and what certain mistrusts may fog up the synchronization of their efforts to set themselves apart from Kitty Pryde’s team in X-Men Gold.

This comic is not so much a follow-up to the issue before it, where the X-men were faced with the combination of two classic villains, Bastion (who is a fusion of Nimrod and Mastermold), only to discover that he’s helping mutants only so that they do not die out completely. Of course the purpose of this is so that he retains his purpose for existing; if there are no mutants left to destroy then his own life becomes meaningless.

Instead of directly picking up from this point, which was left at its own cliffhanger, we return to the events in the first issue which followed a police officer in Colorado helping some locals investigate some strange animal killings. Turns out it’s the mutant Wendigo is the culprit. He attacks the people only to be met by another mutant who looks strangely familiar to Wolverine, claws and all.

The Son of Wolverine

Turns out this mutant is actually Jimmy Hudson.

For those of you not familiar with Jimmy Hudson he is actually Logan’s son, but from another universe—the Ultimates to be exact. In this timeline Wolverine was a soldier in the Iraq war and there he perished, entrusting his son to his best friend James Hudson who would of course give him that surname. During the Final Incursion story line when his universe collapsed with another he ended up on Prime Earth (the current). Of course this probably caused some pretty heavy confusion and fear, which explains why he tore Wendigo apart and attacked Jean Grey and X-Men on contact.

I mean he is the son of Wolverine…

The fight between Jimmy and the X-Men takes up a decent portion of this book and is pretty exciting to look at. As I said with the confusion of being in a whole reality we can forgive him for not trusting anyone, especially not other mutants. Even together our X-Men don’t see to match up against Jimmy who is single-handedly keeping them all at bay, even when they attack together, showing just how powerful of a mutant he really is. Not only does he have the power take hits from Cyclopes lasers and even Bobbie’s powerful ice forms (the juggernaut quip made me laugh), he’s so well-equipped to take on the team that he can even block some of Jean’s mental attacks.

In the end Jean finally realizes who he is, as they met before and shared a lot of fights on the same side. It takes Bobby in his big hulking ice form to finally force Jimmy to calmness in submission.

Sharing the World

Sadly that is the only combat we get in the comic, but it was so good that I’m pretty okay with it. While it doesn’t seem like X-Men Blue isn’t following a formula of set story arcs, yet, we are getting some semblance of an overall plot. Well…it’s more worldbuilding, setting up enemies who are still too powerful for Jean and her team to handle, characters whose motives are still unclear and mysteries that need to be solved. This latter half of the issue sets up nicely something to come. At a bar they decide to have a nice long talk with Jimmy only to find out that he’s lost his memory. This explains perfectly why he was so aggressive towards them in the first place.

Jena tries to catch him up with what she remembered about his own world and how it had its own version of the X-Men and other heroes and villains. Yet no matter how much she tells him he still can’t remember anything, something that makes him very frustrated, leading to a personality trait that he shares with his father. After some time something strange begins to happen as seemingly out of nowhere four new mutants arrive to collect Jimmy. They say they are his companions, perhaps his X-Men, but with the issue literally ending right there we are left with some questions: Are they really his friends? Where did they come from and why now out of all times? Do they pose a threat or are they just as clueless as Jimmy?

Hey look Pietro finally has the right Surname

The Art

The art was a love-and-hate thing for me. Not so much actually hate, but some of what I saw could have been better. Obviously the fight scene was great, it was almost like a fight within the coloring itself. With Jimmy, there was a lot of neutral and bland colors, not bad bland as in a bad way but you know, simple and generic. On the X-men side ,there was such vibrancy like the purples of Jeans powers and reds for Cyclops along with countless bright and lively shades. The facial expressions were a little weird to me, very anime-like with odd points that you’d never really see anyone make. Bobbie’s ice ogre was pretty badass though.

Final Thoughts

A consistent entry in retrospect to the rest of the series so far, it seems like the authors are still working on some worldbuilding as they bring back debut ideas and expand on them. As I said, the series doesn’t appear to be following the traditional arc storyline yet; they’re stretching their legs with the potential that can come from this book, and I’m totally okay with this. The more details of this fictional world that can be given to use the better, it makes the whole experience much more realistic a more pleasurable to read. I hope that this alternate reality scenario becomes one of the first arcs for the series because it’ll make for a really interesting story, not that I don’t love Magneto but you know…it’s always him.

Honestly I love Bobby

Final Score: 8/10

Writer: Cullen Bunn
Penciler: Julian Lopez
Inkers: Jose Marzan Jr. and Walden Wong
Colors: Irma Kniivila
Letters: Joe Caramagna
Images courtesy of Marvel

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