Writer: Grant Morrison
Artists: Phil Jimenez (p), Andy Lanning (i)
As Magneto lays out his plan to destroy humanity, we see Beak makes a stand letting it be known that he's not going to be party to a plan that involves mass killings. After narrowly escaping Magneto's wrath, we see a bruised and battered Beak hooks up with the severely depleted ranks of the X-Men, who are busy planning to launch an attack against Magneto. Meanwhile, Xavier finds himself contacted by Jean who appears to have survived a trip into the Sun.
Grant Morrison has always been a writer that I admire for his ability to think outside the box, and his tendency to take his stories downs paths that few writers would dare. That's likely the reason why I'm not all that excited by this current arc, as while it's a big, impressive arc in which Magneto looks ready to turn the Marvel Universe on its ear, the simple fact of the matter is that Grant Morrison's moving down a well worn path, and this type of story plays to none of his strengths as a writer. I mean Magneto is being presented as a mustache twirling baddie with an evil plan that involves the reversing of the planet's magnetic poles, though it is nice to see another character openly wonder how this plan is going to tell the difference between humans and mutants. We also have the X-Men marshaling their forces, and in one of the more awkwardly written scenes we see Cyclops attempts to sell the readers on the idea that he's going to take down Magneto with an group comprised of students with no combat training. Still, I did enjoy the scene where we see Magneto is haunted by Xorn, as it's an unusual twist and it marks the first time in this story where I found myself actively interested in Magneto's situation. This is then followed by an equally impressive one-way conversation between Magneto and the unresponsive Xavier, in which Magneto offers up a preview of their future meeting after he's finished destroying humanity.
As for the art, I have to say I'm delighted by the fact that Phil Jimenez looks to be on board for the entire arc, as while the material is rather conventional, the art is called upon to deliver some truly impressive visuals, with the scene where Magneto fills the sky with vehicles being a truly horrific visual presentation of the character's increased power levels. The scene where Beak crashes to the ground was also quite effective, though perhaps it was a bit too well done, as it became a bit difficult to believe the character was still alive after seeing how far he had fallen. Also while it's a fairly quiet scene, Magneto's encounter with Xorn had a nice creepy quality to it that I found quite effective, with the scene where the mask crashes to the ground being particularly effective. I also rather enjoyed the cover, as it's a wonderful dark visual that actually hints at a plot element inside the issue.
If any other writer had offered up this story than I suspect I'd be more charitable, as the material is a fairly solid, if overly familiar take on the Magneto makes another bid at global domination story. However, Grant Morrison is a writer that I look to engage my imagination, and as such watching him offer up a plot by numbers exercise is a bit disappointing. Now there are moments where the book looks like it might break away and head in an interesting direction, as there's a fun little scene in the early going where Beak attempts to engage Magneto in a debate about whether a carrot can feel pain, and the book ends on a strong note as the idea that Magneto is being tormented by his Xorn identity is an engaging idea. I also enjoyed the final conversation that Magneto has with Xavier, as if nothing else it captures Magneto's madness in an interesting manner. In the end though we're four issues into a five issue arc, and I find myself still waiting for Grant Morrison get off the ground. In fact Beak's flight in the opening section of this issue is a perfect representation of my feelings of this arc.
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