Writer: Grant Morrison
Pencils: Phil Jimenez
Inks: Andy Lanning with Simon Coleby
Publisher: Marvel Comics
As Magneto continues to be frustrated by the collective disinterest by the general public in his big, evil plan, we see the X-Men begin to arrive on the scene. However, instead of a collective effort, the X-Men carry out a series of individual encounters, in which several impressive moments occur, such as Cyclops delivering a full powered optic blast to Magneto's head. In the end Magneto is defeated in fairly convincing fashion, but not before ensuring a member of the X-Men dies as well.
A big, highly charged finish that somehow manages to feel like its accomplished very little after all the dust has settled. Now I'll concede that there's some memorable moments in these pages from Cyclops helmet shattering optic blast, to one of the most savage Wolverine attacks that has ever graced the pages of a comic. However this issue is more a collection of individual moments than an epic X-Men adventure, and with the entire world on the line Grant Morrison makes the odd decision of having Cyclops decide this is the ideal moment to have a heart to heart conversation with Emma. There's also the simple fact that except for his attack upon Fantomex, Magneto isn't allowed to put on any impressive displays of power, as even the big impact moment where he's supposed to be putting the entire planet at risk by reversing the polar axis, is overshadowed by the arrival of Jean and the Phoenix force. As for the big death of an X-Man that was really pushed upon the readers to sell this issue's big climax, there's very much the sense that Grant Morrison is simply following in the footsteps of Chris Claremont, in a bid to recapture the one moment that still stands up as the greatest moment in X-Men history. However, this shocking death feels a bit weak, though part of this is the direct result of the simple fact that this character has already died twice and returned both times none the worst for wear, and the last page makes it clear this character is likely to return a third time. Still the final stand of Magneto is given a nice sense of finality.
As for the art, Phil Jimenez was born to deliver large scale action, much like we see in this issue, though I must confess there are moments where I did feel the art wasn't as clear as it needed to be when it came to delivering some fairly key moments in the battle. I mean the scene where the Beast rams a pair of needles into Magneto's shoulders, the art doesn't really make is clear why he was unable to empty the contents of these needles into Magneto before he's tossed aside. However the scene where the X-Man is dying is nicely handled, as I loved the way that the art fades away into nothingness before jumping to the future. The action where Fantomex is putting on a display of agility is nicely handled, as is the scene where the character looks to be summarily dealt with by an annoyed Magneto. The big helmet shattering by Cyclops was also pretty impressive.
I've read the other online reviews and I notice that most fans seem quite pleased with this final chapter, but aside from some memorable moments I found this issue to be a bit of a disappointment. I mean Magneto is presented not as an effective villain but rather a man who has discovered he's simply become another face in the crowd, and the general public has adopted the attitude of what has he done to us lately attitude. His defeat also isn't really a team effort, as much like a kung-fu film Grant Morrison offers up a series of battles where individual characters try their luck against Magneto, and the only real moment from this battle that will really stay with me is its abrupt finish. Still there's a fair amount of death and destruction in these pages to give this issue a sense that it's doing something big and important, and I suspect a large part of my disappointment stems from the fact that Grant Morrision only does one thing that I would label completely unexpected, and it's not the "death of an X-Man" that was used to sell the issue.
What did you think of this book?
Have your say at the Line of Fire Forum!