“Messiah Complex” (part 7)
Writer: Peter David
Artist: Scot Eaton
Publisher: Marvel Comics
“Messiah Complex” continues to roll along, deepening the mystery surrounding the “x-baby,” Cable, the motivations of each group involved, and also further solidify the new direction for the X-Men’s longtime team leader, Cyclops. Not only is this the first X-Men crossover event in the past ten or so years, but halfway through this arc, it is shaping up to be one of the best of all-time. There’s plenty of action, suspense, drama and general intrigue to keep any X-fan, old or new, fully entrenched in this story. The creative team behind the “X” has done a fantastic job and this issue of X-Factor not only shows off the dynamics of the new X-Force, but also Cable in action for the first time in this storyline.
Last issue of Uncanny X-Men saw an action packed Sentinel battle that resulted in Cyclops doing what Wolverine essentially refers to as “the unthinkable,” he activates the new X-Force. Wolverine makes the point that this action is something Xavier would have never done, implying that Cyclops is much more brash, daring and ultimately effective. Xavier is always looking to bring harmony to humans and mutants; Cyclops is ready to go to war. This, of course, leads to increased tension between Cyclops and Xavier and writer Peter David does a great job playing up this element to open this issue. Cyclops is still bent out of shape about Xavier keeping the long lost Summers brother, Vulcan, a secret. This directly translates into the conversation Xavier and Cyclops share in the beginning of this story. Cyclops has moved beyond Xavier, he no longer wishes serve as Xavier’s whipping boy and has definitely come into his own as a strong leader. I find it interesting to see this interaction taking place in the pages of X-Factor, seeing as how the first time Cyclops broke away from Xavier resulted in the formation of the original X-Factor. Great dialogue between the two characters as Cyclops really stands apart from Xavier as a leader even further.
This issue also does a great job furthering the character development of “Messiah Complex” rather than progressing the story itself. Aside from further solidifying Cyclops’ status as a much more effective and tough leader, the new X-Force is put on display for the first time. The new team is made primarily of hunters, expert trackers, each with a bit of an edge and attitude. The most obvious dynamic coming in the form of Wolverine and Warpath and they way they handle themselves. Wolverine is the team leader but Warpath is taking on his new duty with a much more personal agenda. Cable is Warpath’s former leader and mentor, at the moment, the X-Men feel that Cable is their betrayer, and Warpath takes that very personally. Peter David does a brilliant job bringing the tension between Wolverine and Warpath outright, clearly defining Wolverine as the leader and Warpath as the loose cannon, much like Cable always was. It will be very interesting to see how X-Force works, especially following the conclusion of “Messiah Complex” and what comes next.
The situation between Layla and the Madrox dupe in the future is also a bit interesting but it is definitely put on the back burner for X-Force and Cable. It ultimately works because it only deepens the mystery surrounding the possible future timelines. This issue focuses on the future where mutants still exist, keeping the story on track with Layla. The future where mutants no longer exist has yet to be touched on. Keeping with the X-Factor characters, David uses Theresa Cassidy to further the danger and the location of the X-Predator. It’s a great sequence and shows that the X-Predator is not only a very viable threat, but is also closing in on the X-Men.
For the first time during this crossover, Cable goes into action. Found by Lady Deathstrike and her cronies, Cable does what he does best, protecting the child and dishing out whoop ass. But he is holding a baby with one arm and trying to fend of Deathstrike and her ninjas with his other. The plot thickens after this brief battle and it definitely raises the stakes for everyone involved.
Scot Eaton’s artwork is fantastic. I love when artists convey real world familiarity into their work. In this case, Eaton’s depiction of Xavier is almost the spitting image of Patrick Stewart. The characters aren’t overly exaggerated, there’s a sense of “comic realism” and the artwork only adds to the quality of the issue. Every character looks distinct, has their right look and the overall tone of the artwork serves the story very well.
“Messiah Complex” continues to roll along, building the action and the drama to a point where I can’t wait to see how this whole story plays out. There are definite implications for the X-Men and everyone involved and I absolutely love the handling of Cyclops and the further evolution of his character.
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