Writer: Mike Carey
Artist: Mike Choi
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Plot: The X-Men lick their wounds and regroup for a counter offensive. Gambit and Mystique reveal some of their motives. Endangered Species ends after going nowhere.
Commentary: Let me start off by saying it was a wise move for Marvel not to tack another dollar on to the price tag of this issue. Itís a double-issue with half of it being devoted to the finale to the Endangered Species back up story thatís been running through all of the X-Titles for the past few months. I canít think of anything that this storyline brought to the X-universe at all. It ended just like I expected it to end; at a dead end! The less said about it the better. It was completely unremarkable and inconsequential. However, with whatís been happening in the main story and the X-Men: Messiah Complex one-shot to be released this week we have the makings of the true ďX-Men Event Story of the YearĒ.
Teams have been rocked to their cores, alliances have been changed and the lines have been crossed and drawn. Carey is set to catapult this story forward in grand fashion along with his partner Ed Brubaker over in Uncanny X-Men and the writers of the other X-books. This issue Carey did what I wanted him to do based on my last review; slow down for a minute and give us insight into why Mystique and Gambit apparently returned to their villainous roots. It seems the answer to that question has a lot to do with Rogue and her current comatose and helpless condition. Both believe her being with Sinister gives her a better chance at recovery than her time with The X-Men afforded her. The motivation for both seems to be their love for Rogue though both Gambit and Mystique question that motive in each other.
Itís apparent too that whether Mystique truly acts out of love for Rogue she is also prepared to use Rogue any way she can to further her own agenda. That agenda is a mystery right now. It remains to be seen whether Mystique will ultimately come out on the side of the angels or not. I think itís good how Carey is using these two characters as the wildcards in the desperate race between The X-Men and Sinisterís Marauders. There namesakes fit the situation perfectly. Gambit is the one who takes risks and whom othersí take risks on and Mystique is the woman of dark mystery and ulterior motive. Cary has us both liking and loathing these two at the same time. I think Mystique has something big and X-Universe shaking on her mind and canít wait until she reveals her hand.
The art by Mike Choi is a welcome change from Humberto Ramosís frantic, exaggerated style. It would not have served this more introspective issue well. Good choice Marvel. Choiís pencils are very reminiscent of Salvadore Laroccaís and so fit well in the current X-stable of artists. The only character that doesnít look so hot is Beast. Iím hoping that during this storyline Marvel decides to revert Hank back to his earlier form. The lion-like look he currently has works for some artists but for the most part it does not. David Finch did a nice composite illustration combining the best attributes of the classic and current beast on the cover of the Endangered Species one-shot a few months back. If nothing else, that amalgam form would be more acceptable than the Disneyworld character he tends to look like now under the hands of most artists. The X-men have always been about change. Iím confident that moving into Messiah Complex we will see some exciting and intriguing changes to the X-World. The current writing and art teams have brought me back to the X-Men. Letís hope they donít let all of us down.
Final Word: Another solid issue of an X-title. Stay tuned for some hot developments coming out of the just launched Messiah Complex cross-over.
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