Thursday, June 4, 2015

X-MEN FOREVER 2 #15 - March 2011

The Price of Life -- is Death!
Credits:  Chris Claremont (writer), Andy Smith (pencils), Cory Hamscher (inks), Wilfredo Quintana (colors), Tom Orzechowski (letters)

Summary:  The X-Men face the Avengers and Perfect Storm in battle while Ghost Panther and ‘Ro secretly meet with Dr. Strange.  When Nightcrawler absorbs Thor’s powers, he’s overwhelmed and forced to unleash a massive lightning bolt that causes both sides to pause.  Cyclops uses the lull to explain to Captain America that Perfect Storm is working with the Consortium and was Wolverine’s killer.  Perfect Storm fires a lightning bolt at Cyclops, but Havok leaps to his brother’s defense.  Havok is killed by the blast.  Ghost Panther arrives, and with Polaris’ help, defeats Perfect Storm.  Ghost Panther unmasks, revealing that Dr. Strange has merged her spirit with ‘Ro, and is now Storm in her true body.

Continuity Notes:  Nightcrawler is colored with white temples after he absorbs Thor’s power and collapses.  The next issue makes clear that his hair is now supposed to be an inverse of Rogue’s.

Review:  With only one issue to go, the lengthy Storm storyline finally reaches a resolution, but not before Claremont makes one more attempt to turn this title into the new millennium’s What If…?  If Havok were the only established cast member killed off during the run of this title, I wouldn’t mind so much, but he’s easily the fifth character whose death is just thrown out there as casually as a rape reference in a Garth Ennis comic.  There’s no dramatic impact here, just a sense of “This again?” as another character bites the dust in a rushed, inert scene that ultimately adds nothing to the book.  Especially in this case; since there’s only one issue left, there’s certainly no chance that Havok’s death is going to be affecting anything in the future of a title that has none.  

Ignoring the gratuitous death, this is actually a decent resolution to the Perfect Storm arc.  The Avengers are rendered very well by Andy Smith (better than the X-Men, truthfully), and the earlier cameo by Dr. Strange finally makes sense.  It’s arguable that using Dr. Strange’s mystic powers to revert Storm to her true body is a copout, but Strange tends to get a pass when it comes to these things since he’s Dr. Strange and is well established in the Marvel Universe as the guy who can pull this kind of stunt off.  While it’s debatable if he’s really been as much of a “friend” to the X-Men as Storm claims here, it’s still fun to see Dr. Strange in an issue that also features the Avengers.  (The issue reminds me that while Claremont rarely explored the larger Marvel Universe while writing Uncanny, when he did, he made it a worthwhile effort.)  Emphasizing that the Avengers are chasing the X-Men not only to avenge Tony Stark, but also Perfect Storm’s husband the Black Panther, is also a nice way to tie together the previous events of the series so far.  I’m not naïve enough to believe that every other plotline in this title is going to have a gratifying conclusion, however, and I’m wondering now how exactly Claremont’s going to draw this erratic series to a close in just one issue.


Anonymous said...

I think I said this before, but as a Scarlet Witch fan who hated the way she was being banned from the comics at the time (and still thinks she's not being used well) seeing her as a member of this Avengers team was a nice touch. And seeing her fight Jean, which rarely happens even though they were essentially counterparts in the early X-Men comics; too bad it's only for one panel and Wanda wins easily.

One thing I liked about the way Claremont wrote Thor is that he always stuck to the classic Stan Lee Thor-speak - "thee" and "thy" and "enow" and such - even when other writers were giving him more normal speech patterns. (In the '80s, when Simonson and other writers radically toned down the Asgardian speech patterns, Claremont brought them back in "Asgardian Wars.") I think the modern practice of making him talk normal but in old-timey font is not as much fun as hearing him bust out the faux-Shakespeare.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous - The problem with your second paragraph is Claremont is putting his Thor-speak in a character that's clearly being rendered as Eric Masterson/Thunderstrike. The real Thor never wore that costume. This actually annoyed me more than any of the other liberties Claremont took on X-Men Forever because there was no need for it. Masterson was only Thor for a couple years. The original Thor could easily appear with these other characters in an Avengers team. So drawing the Masterson Thor while having him act like the real Thor was just obnoxious.

Anonymous said...

At this point in the series I had pretty much given up on the idea that it was supposed to take place in the Marvel continuity of any era; it's just a mix n' match of elements from the early '90s, and that doesn't bother me.

There's a lot wrong with this series, but the continuity problems just don't bother me; once Claremont started doing things Marvel would never have let him do in the "real" continuity (like kill off anyone and everyone) a Thor who looks like Masterson but talks like regular Thor is not a stretch.

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