Armageddon Now Part Four - Rude Awakening
Credits: John Francis Moore (writer), Jim Cheung (penciler), Morales/Stull/Koblish/Mei (inks), Marie Javins (colors), Comicraft (letters)
Summary: Bedlam dons a psionic-amplifier to control the disoriented Armageddon Man. Siryn leads an attack against him, but is severely cut in the throat by Feral. Jesse betrays his brother and disrupts the psionic-amplifier, inadvertently freeing Armageddon Man. Bedlam escapes with most of the New Hellions, content with the catastrophe Armageddon Man will create. Tarot and Magma stay behind to aid X-Force, who manage to contain Armageddon Man once more. He’s handed over to the Senator, with the threat that X-Force is closely watching his next move. Later, at the hospital, the team discovers Siryn’s vocal chords have been severed.
· Feral reveals that she was diagnosed with the Legacy Virus while in the Vault. She uses this to justify becoming even more hostile and violent.
· Tarot has been given new powers since her resurrection. She takes the form of Death, explaining that she can “not only project the imagery of the tarot arcane, but…can now assume their mantle.”
· Magma only stays behind to prevent the nuclear plant from melting down. She’s still adamant about not being a hero. Paradigm, however, returns to the site of the battle and makes peace with the team, claiming that he “learned much” from Moonstar’s journey through his psyche.
Review: Unfortunately, this turned out to be a poor use of four issues. The introduction of Bedlam does resolve one of the title’s mysteries, and some forgotten characters are added back into play, but there’s no escaping the fact that this is a story arc devoted to a vaguely defined villain using a ridiculously overpowered plot device for generic evil. Fine for one issue maybe, but devoting four months to this is beyond excessive. Plus, injuring Siryn in the final chapter feels like a tacked-on stab at making this arc more relevant than it truly was. Moore’s a good enough writer to actually generate decent material out of her injury, but we didn’t need issue after issue of Bedlam, the New Hellions, and the Armageddon Man to get to this point.
Making this storyline even more frustrating is the casual characterization shift for Magma, which is never explained, and the fuzzy resurrection of Tarot, which also remains a mystery. The most promising aspect of the story is the revelation that Feral has the Legacy Virus. Marvel never knew what to do with the Virus storyline, but if you think about it, Feral is the perfect character to be infected. As a not-very-heroic hero who went over to the dark side, her reaction to the infection could go in any direction. A writer could use this as an opportunity to humanize the psychopath, or push her further over the edge. Plus, she’s expendable enough to be a realistic candidate for a death scene, without being obscure enough for her death to be lumped in with throwaway characters like Infectia. Yet, we’re only a year or so away from the Legacy Virus’ quickie resolution, so nothing’s done with the idea. Instead, Feral’s left in the background and only dragged out when it’s time to depower/mutilate/kill a recognizable character. Speaking of which, have the Bedlam Brothers met similar fates in the modern Marvel Universe?