Writer: David Hine
Artist: Roy Allen Martinez
Publisher: Marvel Comics
And the winner of this month's "You Gotta Be Kidding Me" award is... David Hine! Come on down!
I'm going to get my primary criticism out of the way right now: there's something rather sleazy about ending a Decimation story with a lead-in to Civil War. It's bad enough that the Decimation itself was apparently so contrived that none of the core books' writers wanted to deal with it, thus relegating supposedly-crucial plot developments to various mini-series. But to spend five or six issues on these stories, and then fail to provide an ending?! I bloody well think not.
Son of M was the second Decimation mini-series written by David Hine, the first being The 198. Unfortunately, while the two were decidedly different in terms of premise and characters, the one thing they have in common is a complete lack of closure - they might as well have stamped "To be continued in CIVIL WAR #1!" on the last panel.
The problem here is that Marvel is using David Hine as a go-to guy. He's the one they wheel in when no one else wants to deal with fallout from the latest Event du jour. Sometimes he'll use the opportunity to continue his own work - The 198 was really a thinly-disguised sequel to the cancelled District X - but here, his story loses any and all individual identity by virtue of being patched together from loose crossover threads. Son of M begins with Spider-Man, of all characters, recuperating from his experiences during House of M. And it ends with the Inhumans declaring war on America at the drop of a pin.
To be fair, Hine does concentrate on Pietro to an extent, but it's very ambiguous as to how we're supposed to perceive him. On the one hand, we know all about his Daddy issues and his estranged family and the Wanda thing, and obviously we're supposed to sympathize with what he's trying to do, to see his actions as an attempt at redemption. Except this last issue makes it clear, in no uncertain terms, that Pietro's mission is futile, doomed to failure, and he's getting pretty psychotic about it anyway. We're supposed to cheer for him?
I'm giving this book three bullets in recognition of the fact that Hine's writing is actually very strong - he certainly has a firm grasp of Pietro's character. This issue falters solely due to editorial mandates; had there been no cause for a flimsy last-moment conflict between the Inhumans and America, and had Hine not been required to set Pietro up for imminent appearances in X-Factor and (one assumes) Civil War, it likely would have wrapped up properly, or at least more cohesively. As it stands, the final issue of Son of M collapses under the weight of its own relevance to other impending crossovers, and matters more for how it affects the Marvel Universe than for how it affects the individuals within it.
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