Monday, March 19, 2012

X-FORCE #90 - May 1999

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.

Continuity Notes:
· 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?

1 comment:

ray swift said...

Well, on in all it was an enjoyable four-issues story that I enjoyed more then most of the X-stories I read lately.
It does has it faults. Mainly: Magma chracter huge misstreat (like a total different character), Tarot new power (I hate it when they change powers so oftenly and so drasticly. I fathom they think it makes the characters fresh and new, but it just makes them seem inconsistant, and it's almost always better to just use one of the hundreds unexplored thread of the character's unuse current power) and Feral's legacy virus revelation (which I see as a weak point of the story. Feral didn't need this plot device in order to do what she did, and the "horrible" legacy virus which affected the numerous number of 8 victims in the past five or so years is already more of the joke it better just be forgotten.
I would also mention Moonstar's constant change of powers, which really is ridiculus by this point, but that's not relevant to this story specifically.

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