Writer: Chris “My tombstone will say X-Men writer” Claremont
Artists: Sean “Mine will say I should never have left Iron Man” Chen (p), Sandu “Even I don’t know who I am” Florea (i)
Publisher: Marvel “House of recycled Ideas” Comics
Price: $2.99 USD, or half a Euro
This book loses a full bullet for two reasons. The cover has nothing to do with the story inside. The cover shows Aliyah embraced by her mother Deathbird, both of whom are infected by the alien Brood. This happened last issue and will no doubt play a role later in the story. But none of this is even mentioned in this issue. I know this happens a lot, but that doesn’t mean we should let it slide.
The second mistake made is the switching of X-23 and Monet “M” St. Croix. Not only are their names switched on the first story page, but their dialogue is switched on pages 3 and 4. And it’s not like the two look alike; they’re two different races with different powers and costumes. How could this get past three assistant editors? You’d think one of them would at least have noticed X-23, Marvel’s hot character this month, was misnamed.
Aside from that, we get the usual level of Claremont quality writing and Chen/Florea artwork. Scott regrets not leaving the X-Men and settling down with Madelyne. Kate Pryde makes a speech about how Americans should vote instead of starting race riots. Emma Frost gives her powers to Rogue to help find their children. Gambit seems completely unconcerned about the impending deaths of the X-Men, so Sinister reveals his biggest secret yet.
If you haven’t been reading the series so far, you’re going to be completely lost. If you have been reading, but didn’t read every Claremont X-men comic every written, you’re going to be a little lost. Fortunately, Claremont has the skills to tell readers enough to get by. You’re sure there’s more going on, but it’s not immediately relevant to the story. He walks the fine line between easily accessible comics and complex interwoven tales. That’s why I still consider Claremont one of the best writers to have ever worked in comics.
Chen gives us fine figures, but I don’t think Florea is the right inker for him. Her crosshatches are too heavy. Her general inking style is too thin. There are times when the art looks vague and flat. Chen would be better off with a more distinctive inker, like Dan Green or Danny Miki.
And so the end of everything Claremont ever wrote proceeds to its conclusion. He’s managed to surprise us, while writing predictable stories. I’m still resigned to see this through to the end and I’ve yet to regret that decision. This issue’s low rating comes mostly from the X-23/M confusion and Florea’s wispy inks.
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