Friday, May 21, 2010

TALES FROM THE AGE OF APOCALYPSE - December 1997

Sinister Bloodlines

Credits: John Francis Moore (plot), Brian K. Vaughan (script), Steve Epting & Nick Napolitano (pencilers), Al Milgrom (inker), Comicraft (letters), Kevin Tinsley (colors)

Summary: Five years ago, Apocalypse’s men shot down an alien craft over Manhattan. Today, Christopher Summers escapes from Sinister’s custody and runs into the city. Sinister sends the Prelates to find him, but intentionally excludes Cyclops and Havok. When the Prelates fail, Cyclops and Havok search for Christopher. Christopher recognizes them as his children, and tells them the story of his alien abduction and eventual return to Earth. After facing a group of scavengers, the trio takes refuge during a storm. Later, infected humans attack their shelter. They’re rescued by Sinister, who explains that he hid Christopher from Cyclops and Havok because he was infected with alien DNA. Christopher suddenly mutates into a Brood Queen, and with his remaining humanity, begs Cyclops to kill him. As they dispose of his body, Havok declares he’ll never forgive Cyclops.

Continuity Notes: In the opening sequence, set five years ago, Beast is still human and Havok and Cyclops are training to become Prelates. Emplate and “the Monets” are Prelates in the present day, although Christopher Summers apparently kills Emplate. While on the run from Sinister, Christopher is aided by the AoA version of Joe Robertson. While under the Brood’s influence, Christopher kills him. He also infects Colleen Wing, who kills Misty Knight. During Christopher’s tale of his alien abduction, we see that the Brood have overtaken the Shi’ar in this timeline.

Production Note: This is a$5.99 prestige format book with no ads.

Review: Factor X was probably the most consistent of the AoA titles, so I’m glad Marvel revived these characters instead of presenting another underwhelming prequel story about the X-Men. Factor X’s John Francis Moore and Steve Epting return, aided by Brian K. Vaughn and Nick Napolitano. I know that Vaughn was a new writer Marvel was trying out in these days, but I’ve never heard of Napolitano. I can’t really tell where his art begins and Epting’s ends, which does at least give the book a consistent look.

The story is well-structured, taking advantage of the forty-eight page format. The opening “five years ago” scene is really only there to establish the arrival of Corsair (only called Christopher Summers in the story), but Moore also uses the space to establish the cast and set up the conflicts between Cyclops and Havok. The other cast members of Factor X aren’t the focus of the story, but they are at least given enough room to make more than cameos. Introducing the AoA version of Corsair is more significant than, say, the AoA Inhumans, which makes the one-shot feel like a legitimate story that’s perhaps deserving of the format.

I like the revelation that Corsair is actually a Brood Queen (for a second, I wondered if he would turn into the AoA version of Man-Wolf), although I have my continuity quibbles about the idea. The AoA diverged twenty years ago with Xavier’s death in Israel. Corsair was abducted by the Shi’ar a few years later, and as this story shows, they’re already Brood-infected by this point. How did Xavier’s death, years before he would’ve had contact with Lilandra and the Shi’ar, lead to the Brood taking over the Shi’ar? I realize this is kind of pedantic, but it goes against the basic premise of the Age of Apocalypse. The AoA isn’t just another alternate reality; it diverged from ours at a specific point. Xavier’s death would’ve had a large chain reaction on mutants on Earth, but it wouldn’t have impacted one alien race taking over another (especially if they’re doing it years before the X-Men had any contact with them). The inconsistency doesn’t hinder my enjoyment of the book, though. Besides, I’ve already come up with my own No-Prize explanation.

7 comments:

Skayrkro said...

Although I was a big fan of the whole Age of Apocalypse Saga...I was NOT much of a fan of this particular book.

Kevin said...

I don't think I ever read this, and I have been rather obsessive about tracking down all the X-men stories.

I'm curious to see some old Steve Epting, based on his current work on Captain America.

What's your no-prize explanation, just out of curiosity?

Chris M. said...

Your points about the Brood are correct, and what's even more odd is that the Shi'ar actually showed up in the original AoA event with no hint of the Brood.

nyrdyv said...

When Steve Epting moved over the Marvel in the early 90s, his artwork really started to get good. Almost four years on The Avengers and then many years on Captain America brought him to the forefront of the comic world.

Cheers!

Steven G. Willis
XOWComics.com

G. Kendall said...

"What's your no-prize explanation, just out of curiosity?"

Well, it involves Xavier and Lilandra's psychic bond, if that gives you any idea...

Jef Willemsen said...

Well, it involves Xavier and Lilandra's psychic bond, if that gives you any idea...


Not really? But this did leave me thinking there's an even bigger loophole the AoA overlooked. Without Xavier, the coming of the alien Z'nox army would probably not have been detected in time, causing Earth to be overrun by that invasion force.

In the 616, Xavier marshalled the collective thoughts of everyone on Earth and basically blasted all that's good about mankind into space. The Z'nox couldn't handle happiness and the armada turned tail.

Xavier's actions by the way created his mental link with Lilandra, as Claremont cleverly established way back when.

But that still doesn't explain how Xavier not being there stopped the Brood from taking over the Shi'ar?

Maybe without Xavier, the Z'nox were able to wage war against the Shi'ar, weakening the empire and giving the Brood a chance to take over?

... Or maybe, just maybe, the Brood happened to take over that Shi'ar scout ship by accident?

G. Kendall said...

I forgot about the Z'nox connection to Xavier and Lilandra. I could've sworn someone somewhere established that they were born with some sort of unconscious link. My idea is that Xavier's death impacted Lilandra in some way, which impacted D'Ken somehow, which lead to at least a portion of the Shi'ar Empire going to the Brood.

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