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“Death of X” #4

By | November 24th, 2016
Posted in Reviews | % Comments

The first salvos in this conflict between mutants and inhumans finally happens. Let’s see how good it was in our spoilery review.

Written by Jeff Lemire & Charles Soule
Illustrated by Aaron Kuder & Javier Garron

The first true battle in the Inhumans/X-Men war! Cyclops isn’t the only one who doesn’t make it out alive…

Soooooo, this may sound a bit bad… but you ever get the feeling this was a first draft?

I only ask because looking back on this series and seeing this conclusion, I can’t help but feel like that’s what it was. Like, I kind of refuse to believe this is the story planned for Cyclops ever since the beginning of “Extraordinary X-Men” and the ham-handedness of some of the themes here just feels like a creative team that was on a rush job because it needs to be done. Now, the themes at work here (such as the power of ideas) can work, but they are so shoved in here because of all the other juggling that has to be done.

Because let’s just get it out of the way: Cyclops died. In fact, Cyclops died back in issue #1 when he first got exposed to the Terrigen and the Cyclops we have been following has been a psychic projection from Emma Frost. Now, this could have come as a shocking twist, but as I said, this feels like a first draft and all the foreshadowing up to this point was so blatant I’m not sure if this twist or the one with Jacob Kane in “Detective Comics” first Rebirth arc was more obvious. It just feels very crudely made.

Furthermore, on how this Cyclops “dies” and it really begs the question: How does this make him such a hated character and mutants so hated and feared again. Cyclops’ group manages to stop one of the two terrigen clouds, at the cost of Crappy Edward Elric (yeah, I know that’s not the character’s name, but the character was such a non-entity outside of his transmutation abilities that I could not be bothered to remember his name) and tells Medusa and Black Bolt he’s going to take out the other terrigen cloud. Then he tries to use his eye beams, but Black Bolt blows him away before he can. None of what is shown here even remotely begins to explain why Cyclops became so hated. It just feels like a means to an end. They needed Cyclops out of the way. And I will not lie: Having actually killing Cyclops in issue one then having us follow Emma’s facsimile around really does feel like Marvel wanted to shift the blame to Emma and keep Cyclops slightly more clean.

Honestly speaking, the art is not much better. I’ll give credit to Kuder, Garron and all the inkers and colorists, they do manage to at least be consistent and be mostly seamless as to which art team did what. It’s just that all of it feels positively mediocre. I have seen better work from both Kuder and Garron and no doubt the need to be on a double schedule resulted in the poor work here. People in this work look malformed, character expressions were at times comical when they really shouldn’t have been, and even the coloring is pretty drab. I really wish Wil Quintana had followed Kuder over from “Action Comics” because their collaboration was really one that had popped.

At the end of it, I have to ask, “Who comes out of this story looking good?” Fucking nobody as far as I’m concerned. The creative team should have made this a character-focused issue, getting in Cyclops’ mental state as we the audience watched the Sword of Damocles fall ever further down. Instead, we had hollow plot points marching lock-step, conflicting motivations (seriously, issue #2 Medusa was all ready to work with the X-Men to figure out a solution. Here it feels like a 180) and just the general unpleasantness of intelligent people immediately resorting to fisticuffs with nary a bit of context with one another. It is quintessential event books. I think the saving grace it has is that it is nowhere near as bad as “Civil War II”.

Continued below

I honestly do believe you can write a good story involving the X-Men and the Inhumans. But the problem is that Marvel wants to do it in the cheapest, shallowest way. You actually have to have some depth, explore the similarities and differences, be willing to actually take your time. But this issue (and series) did not really endere either side to me. It sure as hell didn’t get me excited for “Inhumans vs. X-Men”. It’s at the point that I wish they would just skip this upcoming exercise in reader patience and get to the Ressurexion.

Final Verdict: 3.0 – Do better, Marvel.

Ken Godberson III

When he's not at his day job, Ken Godberson III is a guy that will not apologize for being born Post-Crisis. More of his word stuffs can be found on Twitter or Tumblr. Warning: He'll talk your ear off about why Impulse is the greatest superhero ever.