It’s mutant mayhem in X-Men Blue #27 as the replacement X-Men continue their battle against the destructive power of Mothervine. And if you find mutants with magnetic powers attractive (heh), then you’re sure to enjoy the latest installment of “Cry Havok” by writer Cullen Bunn and artist Marcus To, as Magneto and his daughter Polaris take center stage.
Among X-Men Blue’s many strengths has been Bunn’s handling of these two characters and their complex relationship. This issue begins with a father-daughter stroll through Madripoor, which turns from pleasant to sour as soon as Erik brings up Lorna’s now-villainous former lover Havok. What’s so wonderful about this scene is Bunn reminds us that while Magneto’s intentions–seeing if Polaris can help reverse Alex’s inverted personality–are good, he can’t help but shake the traits that make him the notorious master of magnetism. Is he just using his daughter for her special connection to one of his current enemies? You never know with Magneto, and that’s why he continues to be one of comics’ most compelling characters.Following this flashback, we return to the present and jump between two battles: The X-Men vs. the genetically enhanced Team Mothervine and Magneto vs. some less familiar, but still genetically enhanced mutants. The new X-Men’s scenes are fine enough (though at five chapters, I’m ready for this arc to reach its end), and Polaris and Bloodstorm each get cool moments. But Magneto’s battle is far more interesting, in my opinion, as it carries him to a very angry place, and a bit of a cliffhanger as to what’s next for him. Angry Magneto is the best Magneto, right?
On the villain front, the relationships between the eclectic mix of characters continues to fray, specifically between Miss Sinister and Emma Frost. But I will say, I continue to enjoy Frost and Havok as a villainous pair and I’m very curious to see how Alex transitions from the current status quo to leading the X-Men in Matthew Rosenberg’s upcoming Astonishing X-Men run.
There are two pages in this issue that irked me, and if you’ve been following my recent X-Men Blue reviews, I think you know what they feature. You guessed it–Venomized! I was no fan of this mini-series, and the fact that it’s finally over brought me great joy. So, seeing the original X-Men and Venom in space, in a scene that clearly takes place before Venomized, brought back all sorts of feelings I thought I’d moved past. Venom has moved on with a new #1–please, can’t we all do the same?
Speaking of the original X-Men, once you see To’s rendition of Angel, Beast, Cyclops and Iceman, you’ll be calling them the X-Boys. It’s not often you see an artist making these teens look as young as they’re supposed to be. It’s refreshing. Overall, I was impressed with To’s pencils across the board (some great expressions on Emma’s face) and hope to see his art on future X-Men stories.
While I feel parts of “Cry Havok” have dragged a bit, I’m excited to see how Bunn wraps everything up next issue. What does Magneto have planned? Will Havok finally return to normal? Will the original X-Men finally join the fight? If a comic’s making you ask questions that can only be answered by picking up the next issue, you know it’s doing something right.