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X-Men: Messiah Complex s/c

X-Men: Messiah Complex s/c back

Ed Brubaker, Mike Carey, Craig Kyle, Chris Yost, Peter David & Marc Silvestri, Billy Tan, Scot Eaton, Humberto Ramos, Chris Bachalo

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Page 45 Review by Stephen

Talk about clearing the decks! Recent blow-out blockbuster and mutant crossover, this could so easily have been crowded cauldron of spoiled broth, but instead the multiple cooks have worked in close cooperation to deliver a consistent consommé, with the multiple threads carried through each title rather leap-frogging over each other. You won't be able to predict which big reveals will happen when; and there are major reveals, multiple deaths, and one almighty piece of treachery which - after fifteen years of dithering - makes perfect sense in this context. On the subject of which, the dramatic irony after readers experience the shock is satisfyingly sustained until right at the end.

Let me put this into context (whilst reassuring you that with just a little level of mutant knowledge over the last few years, you can read this free from any knowledge of recent events - you'll catch up - probably!): I hate most crossovers, especially with multiple writers and artists on board; until recently, Mike's style of writing just wasn't for me; although I love almost everything else Brubaker has done (THE FALL with Jason Lutes, COMPLETE LOWLIFE, SCENE OF THE CRIME, CRIMINAL, GOTHAM CENTRAL, DAREDEVIL and the current CAPTAIN AMERICA series... err, etc.), I've been as disinterested in his UNCANNY X-MEN as I have in Mike's X-MEN; I've never read NEW X-MEN [he's talking about this one, starring the youngsters, not Morrison's - Ed.]. But I enjoyed this so much for what it is (lots of fights, snappy banter and a series of large-scale turning points), that I've just finished re-reading this as a book in a sun-soaked garden. It works, and it's mostly very pretty, particularly Tan's pages.

So: after an extended period in which the mutant gene in so many has been eliminated, and those who still possess it have been effectively neutered (HOUSE OF M: "No more mutants!"), a sudden spike indicating the birth of the first mutant in ages is so off the scale that its feedback blows up Xavier's mutant-tracking device, Cerebro. The X-Men follow its lead only to discover a town obliterated, its inhabitants incinerated, and the baby missing. At the same time Forge's GPS for time and space finally locates two future time-lines in which mutants do still exist, and dispatches one of Jamie Madrox's Multiple Men into each, with Layla Miller (she knows stuff) unexpectedly hopping on board for one of these one-way tickets. Who has the baby? The Purifiers - the band of religious zealots who believe mutant-kind to be an aberration of God's creation? Mr. Sinister and his Marauders, who'd want to control the baby and its enormous potential? Or a third party they'd never suspect? (Umm, I think I've just told you!!!) What further threats (and there are several) will surface to steal the day -- and maybe the baby? What rough beast, its hour come round at last, slathers towards Westchester to slaughter everything in sight? Where is Mystique? And who is the baby? Who could it possibly be? Female, red hair, green eyes... You don't think...? Mmmmm. Also: ever wondered why Bishop had a big M tattooed across his face?

Thirteen issues, big fat gallery at the back, and the original story summit notes. Délicieux!

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