X-Men: Blue #14 brings us part 4–yes, part 4–of the X-Men: Gold crossover “Mojo Worldwide.” With at least two more chapters to go, this celebration of all things Mojo isn’t over yet. Is this the longest Mojo story we’ve ever had to endure? Can it be the last Mojo story we have to endure? And perhaps most importantly, is this comic any good? Read on, readers, read on…
Apologies if I sound a bit jaded, but now four issues into this “epic,” I find myself wondering why this has to be these new X-Men titles’ first “event.” Of all the villains, why Mojo? I’ve just never understood the appeal of this Spineless One, who’s been on X-Men cartoon series and had more than one action figure!
But complaining won’t do much good, as the final two parts of “Mojo Worldwide” are likely being printed as you read this. So going back to my earlier question–is X-Men Blue #14 any good–yes, the answer is yes from a technical standpoint. Writer Cullen Bunn is incapable of producing a bad issue of X-Men: Blue, and artist Jorge Molina is a penciler Marvel needs to lock down ASAP. It’s just this story’s whole premise that rubs me the wrong way.
I can only spend so many issues revisiting the X-Men’s “legacy” (get it?) before it starts to feel repetitive. This week, we revisit the Mutant Massacre and Avengers Vs. X-Men events, but it feels empty. There are also zero stakes in these battles. So many X-Men have “died” in this crossover it’s clear they’re not really gone for good.
There’s a cliffhanger in this issue where Apocalypse strolls into the battle. It’s meant to be an “Oh man, Apocalypse is here–this battle just got real!” But not really. My actual response was, “Ugh, are we going to have to watch them battle fake-Apocalypse next issue?”
It’s just all very formulaic, and the issue’s cliffhanger really doesn’t make me too scared for the fate of the X-Men and the citizens of New York City. I could be wrong. I’d love to be wrong, but this all feels very Saturday morning cartoon. I’m just counting down the issues until Bunn and Gold writer Marc Guggenheim wrap everything up with a nice little x-shaped bow.
Yeah, I definitely sound jaded–who knew Mojo could bring out these feelings in me! Let’s change gears and talk about the positive in these pages.
There’s a nice moment early on when Jean is stabbed by a cyborg Brood. It sure does look painful, but she tells Jimmy Hudson that she shut down her pain receptors and applied telekinetic bandages to her wound. It’s creative touches like this that remind readers how much fun Bunn is having with these characters, finding new ways for them to use their powers. Also nice–we’ve got Beast once again casting spells so soon after his addiction to magic screwed over the team during the “Toil and Trouble” arc. Beast will never learn. How soon before the rest of the team tell him to take a hike?
Then, there’s Molina’s art, which always pleases. His AVX scenes, where he channels artist Olivier Coipel, are especially stunning. Great renditions of Spider-Man, Thor, Captain America and especially Iron Man make me hope Molina has a future penciling in the Avengers’ universe.
Beyond these high points, this comic is pretty by the numbers. It’s a bummer, and only confirms my belief that even small events that tie into a single series disrupt creators’ creative mojo (sorry). We’re only 14 issues into X-Men: Blue and we’ve already crossed over with Secret Empire and X-Men: Gold. Let’s hope once this initial Legacy arc passes, Bunn keeps his eyes on the road ahead and stays in his Blue lane.
And far, far away from Mojo.