Magneto is one of the greatest comic book characters of all time. So long as writers understand and respect what makes the master of magnetism so attractive (get it?), all they have to do is get out of his way and the character writes himself. As X-Men Blue #25 features a Magneto-heavy story, you already know you’re in for a treat. What you’re not aware of is that this oversized issue features Magneto unleashed!
OK, so writer Cullen Bunn deserves some credit, just don’t let Magneto know I said that (he has a temper). Following the frustrating “Poison-X,” the “Cry Havok” story arc has been consistently strong, thanks in equal measure to addictive writing and the return of original series penciler Jorge Molina. Overall, it finally feels like all of Bunn’s little subplots are coming together and generating real stakes in the process–something that couldn’t be said during the last story arc, no matter how many times we were told Jean Grey was dead (you’re smarter than that, Cyclops).
X-Men Blue #25 is actually a pretty quick read, which surprised me considering it comes with a $4.99 price tag. But don’t worry, you’re not being scammed–there are actually two stories in this issue: “Cry Havok Part 3” and “Meanwhile…,” which I’ll get to in a bit.
The main story focuses on the fallout from last issue’s battle between a Malice-possessed Polaris and the Raksha, the results of Briar Raleigh’s X-Men recruitment drive and, of course, Havok and his gang of villains’ efforts to seduce Magneto to their cause. That cause being Mothervine–which could make mutants the dominant species on the planet, but will probably end up causing more trouble than it’s worth. Cue Magneto unleashed!Havok, Emma Frost, Bastion and Miss Sinister are no pushovers. So, to see Magneto stand up to them and counter their twisted logic at every turn reminds readers why he’s a force to be reckoned with. Also, he does something downright badass in battle that brings back memories from the conclusion of the “The Age of Apocalypse.”
The battle between Magneto and his adversaries is also where you’ll find some of Molina’s slickest visuals in this issue. Turns out inverted Alex Summers makes for a pretty menacing bad guy. I almost don’t want to see him revert back to normal.
One question: Do many comics still feature thought bubbles? I feel like we don’t get a peek inside characters’ heads as much these days, so kudos to Emma for bringing that back!
On the tail end of this issue, we have “Meanwhile…,” which returns the original X-Men to the series they’re supposed to star in. And yes, they’re still in space with Venom. BUT, Bunn knows I’m a sucker for Scott and Jean drama, so he distracted me with this tale of teenage Cyclops moping about Jean, who he thinks is dead. Seriously, can someone give Slim an X-Men comic to read? Anyway, this tale continues to hint that first, Jean isn’t really gone for good, and second, the original five’s days in the present are likely numbered. The art in this chapter, by Perkins, is a lot more realistic than Molina’s pencils. But the realism works well with the emotional storyline.
So, does this issue have a downside? I mean, I could mention how the cover is a pretty big tease, but this is an anniversary comic, so I’ll go easy on it. Not many series reach #25 these days, so a toast to X-Men Blue!