Wednesday, August 10, 2011

X-MAN #46 - Late December 1998

Blood Brothers Part One - Stormfront

Credits: Terry Kavanagh (writer), J. H. Williams III (penciler), Mick Gray (inker), Mike Thomas (colors), Comicraft (letters)

Summary: The pyramid that’s crashed into Latveria opens up, revealing Stryfe and the Dark Riders. X-Man discerns that Jean Grey is also a target, so he convinces Madelyne to teleport to America and protect her. As X-Man battles the Dark Riders, his full telepathic awareness is awakened by Psynapse. His mind touches Stryfe’s and he senses their connection. Stryfe captures X-Man and attempts to use one of Dr. Doom’s inventions to drain his power. Meanwhile, Madelyne rescues Jean Grey from the remaining Dark Riders, then teleports back to Latveria. She’s targeted by a mob, but rescued by Cable, who’s responded to Blaquesmith’s call. Elsewhere, Ness arrives in Tramahoi.

Continuity Notes: There’s no explanation yet for Stryfe’s return, but apparently being in Hell enabled him to avoid losing his telepathic powers. How exactly Psynapse retained his is unclear. The pyramid Stryfe arrives in is allegedly the same one X-Man saw in his apocalyptic vision.

Review: J. H. Williams III drew X-Man? That’s certainly a step up from the past few issues. Although this doesn’t look as good as Williams’ current work, or even his ’95 Wolverine annual, it’s still a nice job. His Stryfe looks particularly great. And why exactly is Stryfe in this comic? Since he’s genetically the same person as X-Man, it makes sense for the two to meet, but it would be nice to have some explanation for his resurrection. I seem to recall people ridiculing the dismissive justification for his return when this arc was published, so I’m not looking forward to the details. The idea that he would attack while Earth’s telepaths are at their weakest makes sense, though, and it manages to get some mileage out of “Psi-War.” I also confess to some fondness for the original Dark Riders, so I don’t mind seeing them again. I also received some nostalgic enjoyment from Madelyne Pryor’s solo mission, which had her recounting all of the reasons she hates Cyclops and Jean, yet still doing the right thing. The prelude issue for this crossover was weak, but the first official chapter definitely has its moments. Ignoring Stryfe’s abrupt resurrection, there’s a lot to like about the premise of this storyline, assuming you’re not afraid of certain areas of X-continuity. I just wonder why a story involving Cable, X-Man, Stryfe, Jean Grey, and Madelyne Pryor was so thoroughly ignored by the main X-titles.


Prof. Booty said...

Ha, the original Dark Riders were cool indeed. I have a fondness for them too. I had no idea they were still showing up in comics by the time this came out.

2badguys said...

I love the original Dark Riders. WWeren't they dead too at this point?

ray swift said...

No, no, not the Dark Riders! I was so relived when Wolverine massacred them all. I thought to myself: Finally, one group of characterless completely flat villians is going down. Only 999 more to go.
I admit their design is cool, but since their first appearence as Apocalypse's goons none of them had any personality, background or personal motivation, aside from that darvinism crap (despite them being weak as hell and losing every time).

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