Sunday, May 29, 2011

X-Men: The End Trilogy Review

X-Men: The End
Marvel Comics
Softcover Trade Paperback
448 pages
$34.99 (2009)
ISBN 9780785137375

Contributors: Chris Claremont, Sean Chen, Sandu Florea, Ian Hannin, Dave Sharpe, Greg Land, and Gene Ha

Reprints: X-Men: The End - Dreamers & Demons #1-6 (of 6), X-Men: The End - Heroes & Martyrs #1-6 (of 6), X-Men: The End - Men and X-Men #1-6 (of 6)

Synopsis: Several years in the future the X-Men are still struggling to keep the peace between humans and mutants.  The Xavier School remains the foremost place on earth for mutants to learn how to use their powers and peacefully coexist with society. Life can never be easy for the X-Men and trouble is always lurking over the horizon.

We are introduced to Aliyah Bishop, who lives aboard the Starjammer with Carol Danvers in a sentient energy form as the ship's main computer. She uncovers a deal between the Kree and a band of interdimensional slavers to exchange a priceless commodity - the Phoenix!  Aliyah spoils the exchange and makes off with the a resurrected Jean Grey.

Immediately things go from bad to worse as X-Men across the world are besieged by War-Skrulls impersonating their loved ones.  Layers of betrayal unfold and all of the X-Men's foes have a hand in the plot for their downfall - Stryfe, Mr. Sinister, Apocalypse, Cassandra Nova, and even the Brood.

The ultimate showdown is brewing across the universe on the Shi'ar homeworld and nothing will ever be the same as the X-Men and their foes fall like dominoes in a seeming race to destruction.  The death toll rises and we're left to wonder if a dream can truly die with all of its

Pros: Claremont fans will be happy to see him end the X-Men his way, Phoenix returns (again), epic battles/betrayals/deaths, some impressive plot twists which must have been planned by Claremont years ago and never made it to print, nice covers by Land and Ha, sketchbook section

Cons: Sean Chen's art is bland and uninspired, not a true ending storyline, typical convoluted Claremont plot with an unwieldy cast of characters, typical X-Men preachiness

Mike Tells It Straight: Chris Claremont gets to end the franchise he made famous, but like a true proud father he can't finish off the story with an actual finale - instead he brings us to the brink of cataclysmic destruction and dangles hope for a new future between man and mutant.  The story itself is a muddled mess of non-stop action, minor to major character attrition, and an epic showdown.  It just didn't resonate with me as a long-time X-fan although many may disagree.  I loved Claremont's X-Men and would have been happy to never see him leave the title (especially considering the mediocrity which ensued), but his writing style just doesn't resonate anymore.  He essentially incorporates the Morrison run and ties up several loose ends from his original run (revealing the third Summers brother, etc). The artwork and most of the dialogue are terribly wooden, but I will grudgingly admit it's must-have reading for true X-fans (sorry).

TO BUY and Recommendations: