Welcome, dear readers, to X-Men: Bland Design, the weekly multi-part recap column that strives to answer the question: “What if Ed Piskor had no art skills, a juvenile sense of humor, and less classic material to work with?”
It’s been a rough decade or so for X-Men fans. As part of Ike Perlmutter‘s feud with Fox over the Fantastic Four movie rights, Marvel’s greatest franchise has suffered many an indignity. Cyclops turned into a villain by writers and editors with a Wolverine fetish. The worst crossover of all time, Avengers vs. X-Men. A serious attempt to replace mutants with the Inhumans, thankfully killed by the god-awful Inhumans TV show. Greg Land. But that’s all over now (except for Land). With a Marvel/Fox deal on the horizon, the Fantastic Four can return, but more importantly, Marvel can give a crap about the X-Men again!
Each week, we aim to recap what happened in all of the X-books, make a few jokes, and struggle to survive the experience as we reckon our love for our favorite characters with what can often feel like a “quantity-over-quality” approach to comic booking.
Last week, we didn’t have time to recap the X-books due to all the C2E2 news we had to cover, which means we’ve got to catch up. To do that, we’ve got to read and recap 13 — yes, 13 — X-books in one weekend. Is that even possible? We’re about to find out!
ASTONISHING X-MEN #10
CHARLES SOULE (W) • ACO (A/C)
A MAN CALLED X Part 4
Evil doesn’t always know it’s evil. Proteus has a wonderful gift for the world – all he needs is a little time for the finishing touches. The X-Men race north to stop him, and choose their field commander for the battle to come. It’s the mutants unleashed at last, fighting Proteus’ army for the fate of the planet. Evil doesn’t always know it’s evil.
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99
A Man Called X continues as we’re just three issues away from a rebooted title with a new roster and a new creative team in Matthew Rosenberg (yay!) and Greg Land (can’t win ’em all). This lame duck team of X-Men — Bishop, Gambit, Old Man Logan, Rogue, Psylocke, Archangel, Mystique, and X, a reborn Professor Xavier in a body stolen from Fantomex — are on their way to bust up the reality-warped enclave Proteus has set up in Scotland.
X is kinda mad at Old Man Logan for stabbing him in a previous issue, but he ought to know that’s what Wolverines do best. The team voted for Psylocke to be in charge instead of X, due to him possibly being evil and maybe insane. Psylocke says there will be no killing on this mission unless they really can’t help it. X says Proteus has made the entire town he took over “psycho-reactive,” and says that if the contamination spreads, it will mean bad things for the world.
So what’s going on in ol’ Fetters Hill anyway?
Yeah, we can’t have that now, can we?
Unfortunately, the X-Men’s blackbird is shot down by arrows, forcing Betsy to save everyone in a telekinetic bubble. They make it down safely but are immediately drawn into battle with a bunch of monsters. This plays out over the course of multiple double-page spreads. The monsters were just a distraction, however. Proteus is the main event. Proteus grabs X and tries to explain what he’s up to: instead of reshaping reality according to his own desires, he’s allowed all of the townspeople to reshape reality democratically. This helps filter out the crazy, you see.
The X-Men aren’t buying it. Proteus says if Professor X really believed in his own dream, then he wouldn’t have a problem with what Proteus is doing. Proteus unleashes his power outside of the town. The entire world is about to be threatened (but we know it’s gotta be wrapped up in two issues or less so the new creative team can take over). On that note, this will be continued next issue.
It’s good to have Professor X back, but we have to wonder what’s going to happen to this team of X-Men when the new creative team takes over and installs a new roster in a few months. You don’t need to listen to us rant about decompression again, but it’s unfortunate that a 12-issue run consists of only two stories these days. It both drags out for a long time and feels too short at the same time. It’ll read better in trade (especially for 99 cents on Amazon), but then why are we buying the floppies again?