War of Kings is a blog dedicated to my favourite comic books, books, games and movies.

Monday, September 22, 2008

From the Front - September

Comic shop was closed on Friday, but I finally got my comics. At least some of them. There should have been four comics waiting for me but only two had arrived. X-Factor's continued absence must have something to do with it selling out, but I have no idea why Star Wars: The Clone Wars was missing. So, I have reviews of the first issue of two X-Men miniseries for you.

X-Men: Manifest Destiny #1 (of 4 (or, possibly, 5))

Despite the numerous negative reviews, I really enjoyed this. The cover is awesome too, except it was marred by a skrull playing baseball in the corner.

Yes, the Iceman story makes no sense. Bobby says as much. But things only need to make sense to rational people, and Mystique is not rational. Now maybe its just my conspiracy tendencies creeping in, but I sensed something here that wasn't mentioned in any reviews I read. I think Mystique really does have feelings for Bobby, and she actually thinks that she is helping him. Her 'melting point' comment made me thin that she is trying to help him, if I can put it this way, reach his destiny. Why would she think this? Because of a mutant named…Destiny. Mystique did some crazy things in Messiah Complex because of what Destiny told her, and it seems to me she isn't finished yet. So in some twisted way, this makes a lot of sense.

Yes, the Boom Boom story was ridiculous. But once I realised it was meant to be ridiculous, it was ridiculous in a good way. Do all comics need to be dark and serious? Besides, anything that pokes fun at Facebook is ok by me. I'm tired of my friends going on about how awesome it is. Players of the Achaea and Lusternia MUDs have been using coffee to counteract sleeping spells for years, so the coffee trick made perfect sense, but was still hilarious.

And then there was the Karma story. I thought this was meant to be an introduction to Karma for to new readers of Uncanny who don't know her (into which category I fall) - but if so, it fails dismally. I didn't understand any of it. And the art was awful too.

And finally, how long is this series? I thought it was four issues, until the December solicits said 'of 5' and didn't seem to indicate that Iceman's journey was ending. However, this issue said '1 of 4' after all. I is confused.

Verdict: Minor Victory. I have to give this Minor Victory cause I enjoyed it so much, but the price tag makes me say: For die-hard Iceman fans only.

House of M: Civil War #1 (of 5)

I promised I'd explain why I like House of M so much. And to do that I need to go all the way back to primary school where I used to read my friend's Spider-Man and X-Men comic books. I had never heard of the Avengers. I had never heard of Iron Man, or Hawkeye or the Scarlet Witch. I had heard of Captain America, but I didn't know he was an Avenger. In high school no one bought comic books, so I never saw one again, until I found a comic shop at the Stables Market in Durban and saw X-Factor #1. It was a happy coincidence - I wanted to collect a comic series, and one was just starting, so I could collect it from the beginning. I had no idea who any of the characters were, but they were X-Men, and the story was good, so that was ok. I had no idea what had caused the Decimation - but neither did the characters, so that was ok too. When I got the two Civil War tie-ins that were less about Civil War and more about the Decimation, I thought I should find out what exactly this House of M was. So I bought the House of M trade. I loved it. I did not care that the Scarlet Witch was the enemy. After all, she was the daughter of the X-Men's greatest foe. I had no idea Layla Miller had never appeared in a comic before. After all, she was a mainstay character in X-Factor, and the (Astonishing) X-Men knew her.

I now know better, but I can't suddenly un-love House of M. Also, most of the story arcs I have in my collection (from The Longest Night to Messiah Complex) spin directly out of House of M and the Decimation. Like Layla Miller, House of M is truly the beginning for me. And I want to know how the beginning began. Even if it has a silly title. I have reversed it, because it seems to be that way round on the cover, and it makes a lot more sense to me.

So, what is the comic like? At first glance it seemed a bit disjointed, but when I read it through a second time, it actually flowed quite well despite having to cover such a large amount of time. There's not much new in the first part - we see Magnus surviving Auswich, meeting Magda, the death of his first child, Anya, and the pregnant Magda fleeing when she sees him kill the people who kept him from rescuing his daughter. But then things begin to deviate deviate - only a year later Magnus appears to have put a brotherhood together, showing that in the House of M universe, mutant numbers began to increase a lot earlier. His brotherhood consists of what appear to be a neyaphem with spiked fists, a reptilian, a fire-manipulator, and a powerhouse. They have seemingly escaped from a prison facility in France, and though spiky fists is killed, the rest are smuggled out of the country by American exchange student Suzanna Dane. When she reveals to Magnus that she is pregnant with his child he tells her to get as far away from him as possible because of the danger. I'm not sure if he's referring to his life on the run, or if he just doesn't want the child to grow up with him as a rolemodel. Then Bolivar Trask unveils his sentinels, who battle the brotherhood in Egypt. The battle ends with Magneto as the only survivor, prompting Apocalypse to offer him a place at his side, but the two soon clash over Magneto's unwillingness to kill defeated foes. Defeating Apocalypse, Magneto declares war on humanity. His declaration is broadcast on TV - and is seen by Pietro and Wanda, a very happy-looking Lorna Dane, and a concerned Charles Xavier.

I'm not sure how many of the mutants we are supposed to recognise - Banshee and Peepers are in Apocalypse's group, but I do not recognise any others. The issue could have benefitted from introducing us to the member's of the brotherhood, some of whom I am curious about. This would have given their deaths and Apocalypse's casual survival of the fittest attitude more resonance, and garnered even more sympathy for Magneto. I felt myself rooting for him - this is not the same Magneto as seen in the early X-Men comics. Despite his earlier outburst, he shows compassion to defeated humans, and a reluctance to see the conflict escalate and pull more humans and mutants into it. Wanda gave everyone their greatest wish in House of M - is this how Magneto wished he had behaved? It would seem that the Professor has not formed the X-Men, as the Sentinel factory was not destroyed - does Charles wish that he had never formed the X-Men? At long last, we are shown proof that Polaris is in fact Magneto's daughter - but in an alternate reality in which the Scarlet Witch gave people their greatest desires. It still leaves us with the question of whether Polaris really is Magneto's daughter, or if this is a product of Magneto's wish to have a family that his beliefs did not destroy. Or has Polaris always wanted Magneto to be her father? This issue brings up some surprising questions about the desires of Magneto, Polaris and the Professor, which I was not expecting.

Verdict: Major Victory! This is the best start to a miniseries I have read in a long time.

1 comment:

  1. Wanda had access to Magneto's mind and all her friends minds. At the end of the day she was giving herself what she and Pietro wanted far above what Magneto or anyone else wanted. Certainly she also gave some of her friends some, but not all of the things they wanted. But, at the end of the day Magneto's greatest wish was to be able to live the simple life with Magda, Anya, and the rest of his family away from the rest of the world. Wanda and Pietro wasn't granting his fondest wish they were granting their own fondest wish.

    As far as Lorna, its offical Marvel canon that she is his daughter and has been for over five years now and certainly it like any other 'fact' in Marvel it can be retconned even Pietro and Wanda's parentage could be retconned. But, the chance of retconning any of their parentage at this is almost zero.

    Lorna is Magneto's daughter in the upcoming animated series and without getting into any real spoilers I will say that the HoM had a huge impact on that series. But, the HoM as a series was itself was only read by a few hundred thousand people, this show will be watched world wide by litterly tens of millions of people over the next several years. Most of who won't even have known who Lorna was before seeing her there.