If you’re going to make me read a seemingly never-ending X-Men Blue/Venom crossover, the least you could do is throw me a bone or two every few pages. Hey, at the very least, it would mean a better review score. Well, in “Poison-X” part four, writer Cullen Bunn finally gives me a reason to keep turning the pages of X-Men Blue #22.

Yep, you guessed it: Developments regarding Cyclops and Marvel Girl’s relationship! (You readers know me so well).

So, the X-Men you know and love have become “Venomized,” because somebody at Marvel thought that would be a good idea. They’re all edgy now, with spikey costume designs straight out of a cool variant cover. With help from Venom, they’re going to rescue Cyclops’ dad Corsair and his Starjammers. And man, it sure is taking them a long time to do that (and putting a serious dent in my wallet).

While this issue is a lot more of the same symbiote-on-symbiote action, Bunn makes the wise move of having Jean Grey narrate the issue. This allows us to get inside her head, which she’s not only sharing with Scott Summers these days (via a permanent psychic link), but her new symbiote friend as well. Through her thoughts, we get to revisit that big revelation in the Cross Time Capers arc, as well as her concern for an increasingly savage Cyclops, who’s gone off in search of his father. Hey, it’s almost as if there was a good series here before Venom hijacked it!

I’ve made no secret of my dislike for Poison-X’s entire concept and existence, and while this issue is certainly an improvement over Venom #162, it only highlights how much I wish X-Men Blue had continued, uninterrupted by this pointless crossover. I would much rather be back on Earth, tying up all the subplots Bunn has introduced throughout this series before Marvel does away with it or combines it with X-Men Red to create X-Men Purple this summer.

Oh yes, and the Poisons are also here. I didn’t read the Venomverse miniseries, so I have no idea what a Poison is or why I should be afraid of them. I even read a brief Marvel Database post about these characters and I’m still confused, so here’s hoping next week’s Venom #163 catches me up.

This issue’s art, courtesy of Jacopo Camagni, is good. The smooth line work and manga-esque pencils reminded me of Jorge Molina’s artistic contributions to the series. But I’ll be honest, after a few pages, I got pretty tired of seeing all those Venomized faces. I’m sorry but I left my interest for sharp teeth and claws on characters back in the ’90s. I read this series for the strong character work, not to see the likes of Beast and Iceman cut loose to the eXtreme!!! (three exclamation points because I’ve become Venomized.)

And on the final page of this comic, I’m reminded that the ride isn’t over yet. While we do indeed return to Earth in next Month’s X-Men Blue #23, the Venomized X-Men will continue their symbiote-infused adventures in, wait for it… Venomized.

Did I mention Venomized will last for five issues? That line-wide Marvel relaunch can’t come soon enough.

X-Men Blue #22
Is it good?
Like our heroes, X-Men Blue has been overtaken by symbiotes. But this issue shows there's still good underneath all that... whatever symbiotes are made of.
This Poison-X installment proves to be a bit more intimate, which works in its favor.
Good to see some subplot progress on the Scott and Jean front.
Nice art from Jacopo Camagni.
If you don't know who the Poisons are, you may be lost.
I miss seeing actual faces--enough with the symbiotes!
Sadly, this issue's strengths remind me why I'd rather have regular X-Men Blue stories and not ones that have been Venomized.

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