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X-Men: The End, Book 2: Heroes and Martyrs

Posted: Sunday, March 13, 2005
By: Michael Deeley



Writer: Chris Claremont
Artists: Sean Chen (p), Sandu Florea (i)

Publisher: Marvel Comics


The first book in the X-Men: The End trilogy basically played “Where are they now” with the mutant universe of the near future. It ended with Warskrulls, superhuman alien shapeshifters, (seen in Uncanny X-Men #274-277, and the TPB X-Men Visionaries Jim Lee), destroying Xavier’s school in New York, killing hundreds of students. Their attacks continue this issue as a Warskrull ambushes the surviving members of X-Force.

The surviving X-Men lick their wounds and compare notes. Jean, (Phoenix and alive again), tells Professor X she’s alive and in space with Binary, Nightcrawler, Nocturne, and the daughter of Bishop and Deathbird. She also surprises Xavier with news of Lilandra’s son Xavi. Xavier wonders why he hadn’t sensed this child with his telepathy. Suddenly, he is attacked by a Warskrull immune to his telepathy.

Gambit has taken his children and the children of Cyclops and Emma Frost to Mr. Sinister. Sinister claims he only wants to keep them alive. The X-Men are, “dead mutants walking.”

Meanwhile, the government sees these attacks as a personal vendetta that threatens the globe. It might even spark a mutant/human race war. Preparing for the worst, they alert the Nimrod Sentinels.

Claremont takes a lot of flak for being overly verbose, but the man can write. He’s juggling a half-different ongoing storylines, plus character arcs, and drawing on the last 25 years of X-Men continuity. And you can follow it all. Now, I may be biased because I’ve read every issue of Uncanny written by Claremont, so I recognize most of the characters and remember much of the history brought up here. But even with my knowledge, a story with this much information and of this scope can easily be a confusing muddled mess. Claremont not only keeps the story clear, but moves it along swiftly and naturally.

That clarity is mirrored in Sean Chen’s art. The action and story flow naturally, and the figures are very human. Their body language and faces reflect their feelings and personalities, both the dramatic and the subtle. The style reminds me of Jim Lee, but smoother, more organic. Florea’s inks add to this feeling.

So, a fine first issue, an exciting continuation from the first mini-series, with the promise of more violence to come. I’m sticking around.



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