“Unnatural part 3 of 5”
Writer: Sean McKeever
Artists: Garcia and Leisten
Shortpack has a heart-stopping moment, while Mystique pursues her own agenda much to his consternation. Meanwhile, surprisingly optimistic and resourceful mutants abound.
Is there anything in this issue really to warrant the four bullets of above-average-ness? The art is good but not great. The story is the same espionage/adventure this title has been serving up from the start. Maybe it’s just that I enjoyed reading it so damn much. McKeever has maintained the cinematic scope of Mystique’s adventures, as well as most of her supporting cast, including the very charming and intrepid miniature telepath, Shortpack.
It’s emotionally potent to see him doubt Mystique for the first time, and tension does rise as he flees an intrepid guard (until help comes from an unsuspected source). Sure, there’s formula aplenty here, but they’re good formulas, why not use them? With the European settings of late, I feel like I’m watching a mutant version of the Bourne Supremacy, and loving every minute of it.
The two one-minded thugs dispatched to deal with Mystique are also fairly standard issue, but McKeever has some fun with her powers in coping with them. Garcia’s visuals are mostly up to the task of her transformations, though I still miss the precision that Maguire brought to her changes in X-men Forever. While by no means bad, this is a bit of a wonky (perhaps rushed?) issue for Garcia, with physical proportions and perspectives getting a little sloppy in some panels.
Kudos must go to Mayhew, however, for a thrilling cover featuring a very athletic anti-heroine.
Also interesting: The assistance provided by the surprisingly capable captured guinea pigs is perhaps too readily forthcoming, but McKeever is able to sell them (especially through an inspired opening dream sequence) as credible. They’re a nice contrast to the sort of mutant Mystique has become, even though they’re clearly all on the same side.
Less interesting: Mystique is diverted from concerns over how the DermaFree company may be using her own cells by an extended fight sequence, and it’s unclear whether her ending confrontation with a mutant traitor will lead her back to it. Still, as I said, there’s a very satisfying and efficient manner to the storytelling that keeps this book at the top of my reading list each month, and that’s certainly better than bad.
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