Death of X (Marvel Comics: 2016)

By:  Karl Stern (@dragonkingkarl, @wiwcool, karl@whenitwascool.com)

Warning:  All comic book and movie reviews at WhenItWasCool.com contain spoilers.  If you do not want to know what happens then come back after you have finished reading.

bring out your dead!

bring out your dead!

I have never been a big fan of the X-Men comics or properties so forgive my ignorance. I'm not sure what it is that has never appealed to me about the X-Men corner of the Marvel Universe but since the 1970's I have read dozens of them and nothing ever really hooks me in.  Still, it looks like Death of X is going to be a pretty big deal so let's take a look at it and maybe I can figure it out by context.

The cover says this is a four issue limited series which is a big positive to me.  I am so long ago burned out on chasing down a million cross-over comics for events so if this is a truly "done in four" old school style limited series then glorious!

The cover credits are Jeff Lemire, Charles Soule, Aaron Kuder, and Morry Hollowell.

I am immediately confused by the cover which shows Cyclops front and center.  Again, I do not read the X-books (which is my fault) but the last time I saw Cyclops he was getting destroyed by Dr. Doom in Secret Wars.  I wasn't aware he'd been resurrected but I'm certainly not surprised either.

The inside cover gives the lowdown on what the X-Men are and what Inhumans are so I deduce from this that this series is a conflict between the two groups.  It's been obvious for some time that Marvel is replacing the mutants with the inhumans as the main group for this corner of the universe.  Like, hitting you over the head with a hammer obvious.

We get a handy character break down chart which I always love.  This is especially helpful for those of us who don't know these characters very well.  It looks like we get Cyclops (who I thought was dead), Emma Frost, Magik, Iceman, Stepford Cuckoos (I have no earthly idea), and Goldballs... yes, Goldballs.  (I am familiar with him from Spider-Man).

On the Inhuman side we have Crystal, Gorgon, Grid (no idea), Flint (no idea), Naja (no idea), and Iso (no idea).  Sadly, no Karnak.  Ok, let's have a go at this.

Points give for telling me who people are in the story.  this is helpful.

Points give for telling me who people are in the story.  this is helpful.

We immediately begin with a flashback to one year earlier and a flight over the Atlantic in the X-Men's Blackbird.  The Uncanny X-Men are answering a distress call to Muir Island.  We cut scene to The Riv and the Uncanny Inhumans who are observing the Terrigen mist cloud about to hit Matsumoto, Japan.

Cut scene back to the X-Men who have unboarded onto Muir Island.  There is some type of gas or mist covering the island and the X-Men discover a diseased and dead mutant in the research facility.  

Cut back to Japan where the Terrigen Mist has transformed at least one person so far.  The Inhumans move in to observe but then Hydra surprisingly bursts onto the scene in an attack and are met by the Inhumans.  It looks like the Inhumans have the advantage but then massive Hydra gunships enter the scene.

We then return to the X-Men and Muir Island.  The Stepford Cuckoos (what a dumb name. What is their story?) have located Madrox (the Multiple Man) who appears to be diseased as well and possibly dying.  Madrox revels that it is the Terrigen Mist that did this to the island...

Wait. What?

i see dead people

i see dead people

OK, I hate these giant leaps of logic we have to make in comics.  You mean to tell me that with today's satellite technology and in a world like the Marvel Universe where tech is even more sophisticated that no one was tracking the Terrigen Mist cloud when it passed over Muir Island?  Really?  No one?  That's a pretty big leap I have to make there but let's not get obsessed and just keep going here.

Madrox dies in the arms of Cyclops... wait a minute.  Didn't the first page say all this happened one year ago?  OK, maybe everyone else already knew this. Maybe that is why Cyclops is alive here.  I'm very confused but OK, so one X-Men is dead.  The X-Men stand around and talk about, already realizing that they also have now been exposed to the mist.

people are talk... um hum.. talking bout people

people are talk... um hum.. talking bout people

Cyclops then sends The Beast some data on the Muir Island event and while he and The Beast are discussing it, Cyclops suddenly collapses to the floor in front of Emma Frost.

We now return to the battle in Japan between The Inhumans and Hydra.  Crystal is wounded by a Hydra blast but suddenly a new Inhuman bursts out of his cocoon and unleashes a massive energy blast of some type.  The blast only harms the Hydra agents which is certainly convenient.  Honestly, this whole scene was a mess and kind of confusing.

We return to the X-Men where Cyclops is up and walking around.  We get some Emo dialog from the always sad X-Men.  I remember now why I dislike the X-Men.  They are like a daytime Soap Opera only with consistently worse dialog and more sadness.  I now also know why I hated that Superman vs. Batman movie so badly, because Superman and Batman were written like an X-Men comic with nothing but darkness and sadness and a forlorned melancholy that sucks all the life out of a room.

drama llama

drama llama

The X-Men just decide among themselves that the Inhumans are out to kill them with their Terrigen Mist and have "put their species before ours".  Is that a way to avoid saying "race" or is it worse?  I can't tell what their meta-commentary is here but I do know it is contrived and requires a pretty big leap in logic.

Cyclops just decides (and I quote) "As far as I'm concerned, they killed -- they killed everyone here."  No, I'm pretty sure I saw Dr. Doom kill you sometime ago but I concede the point.

The issue ends with the absolute WORST meta-commentary on current American society one could ask for.  I'll leave you to decide what they are not-so-subtlety hitting you over the head with here.  Welp, I'm out.  Done with this mess.  I'll go read DC's Death of Hawkman now and see what's happening with that.

hate bait much?

hate bait much?