Messiah Complex: New X-Men #45 Review

The Revolution absolutely loves the Messiah Complex story arc. This has been the best thing to happen to the X-titles in a long time. There is no doubt in my mind that New X-Men #45 is going to be another exciting chapter of the Messiah Complex. Not even Ramos’ artwork can dampen my enthusiasm for this issue. Let’s go ahead and do this review.

Creative Team
Writer: Christopher Yost & Craig Kyle
Pencils: Humberto Ramos
Inks: Carlos Alberto Cruz Cuevas

Art Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6.5 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin with Lady Deathstrike telling Cable to surrender the baby to her and in return she will grant him a quick death. (God, I wish I had a nickel for every time I have read that exact line from a villain in a comic book. I would be a billionaire by now.) Cable declines her offer and tells her that she should look behind her. Lady Deathstrike turns around and we see that X-Force is on the scene. X-Force starts battling Lady Deathstrike and her Reavers.

We shift to Jamie and Layla into the future. They are being processed into a mutant internment camp. Layla tells Jamie that he won’t die and eventually he will forget the pain.

We slide back to the brawl between X-Force and Lady Deathstrike and her Reavers. Lady Deathstrike confronts Wolverine and says their feud is not finished. Wolverine says now is not the time for their feud and steps aside and lets Wolverine-ette fight Lady Deathstrike while he goes after Cable.

We cut to Predator X still hungry and hunting for the baby that it desires so badly.

We hop back to the X-Mansion where Beast is in the medical bay frantically working to keep Hellion alive despite his massive injuries. Nightcrawler is also critically injured. Beast hopes that Elixir regains consciousness soon in order to heal all the critically wounded X-Men.

Surge is beating herself up for getting Hellion so badly hurt. Emma tells Surge that if the New X-Men had stayed at the mansion then they might have been killed by the Sentinels like many of Emma’s students were. Emma tells Surge that she is perfect for the job as leader for the New X-Men because she will protect them from anyone even Emma herself.

Emma leaves the medical bay and walks into the main meeting room where Cyclops has assembled the remaining members of the X-Men along with the members of X-Factor. Cyclops tells Emma that Wolverine has called to inform them that Lady Deathstrike and the Reavers are also on the scene. That the X-Men and X-Factor are going to fire up a Blackbird and go assist X-Force.

We cut back to Lady Deathstrike insulted that Wolverine ducked fighting her and sent a child after her instead. Wolverine-lite gets her ass kicked by Lady Deathstrike. The imitation Wolverine girl then suckers Lady Deathstrike in and damages Lady Deathstrike’s cybernetics. Wolverina then way too quickly and easily takes down Lady Deathstrike. (Booooo!)

During the brawl, one of the Reavers comments to Wolfsbane how Reverend Craig told them all about her. Rahne demands to know what Reverend Craig told them and what does he know about her. Unfortunately, the Reaver gets killed before Rahne can get any answers.

Wolverine and Warpath are following Cable’s footprints. A Reaver aims at Warpath’s back and pulls the trigger. Caliban heroically throws his body in the way of the bullets and takes three to the chest. Warpath turns around and cries out for Caliban. Warpath throws his knife through the head of the Reaver and kills him. Warpath runs to Caliban’s side. Caliban is dead.

Wolverine notices that Cable has backtracked to the direction that X-Force came. Wolverine runs to catch up to Cable when suddenly we see the Blackbird blast off into the sky. Cable and the baby are inside of the Blackbird. Wolverine wonders what Cable is up to and how many people have to die before it is over. End of issue.

The Good: New X-Men #45 was a solid read. Yost and Kyle deliver a fast paced issue that keeps the reader’s attention from start to finish. We get tons of kick-ass action in the massive brawl between X-Force and Lady Deathstrike and her Reavers. It was certainly enough quality fighting to keep any action junkie satisfied.

Yet, Yost and Kyle don’t short change the reader and give us a brawlfest of an issue that is lacking in substance and depth. The reader also gets treated to some well done dramatic scenes. Even though I’m not familiar with the characters in the New X-Men, I still liked the scene between Surge and Emma. Yost and Kyle do a good job showing that despite the mess with the Reavers that led to Hellion’s grave injury, that Surge still possesses the necessary attributes to take care of her team and be a good leader.

It was a touching scene that displayed the growing pains that all young heroes go through. The road to being a top notch leader involves making mistakes and learning from them in order to avoid them again in the future.

I thought that Caliban’s death well done. This is a fine example of how to kill a character and make it powerful and actually relevant. Caliban goes out in a blaze of glory willingly sacrificing himself to save his dear friend in Warpath. This was a great scene. It made for a dramatic climactic ending to this battle scene.

I had a feeling that Caliban was slated to be killed off in this story arc once he was placed on the team. Caliban is a total C-list character, but he still has enough name recognition with X-fans that his death will have some impact. Killing off a C-list character like Caliban rather than one of the big named X-Men was a wise move. This death lends a more realistic feel of a true war in the Messiah Complex. Yet, it won’t piss off any fans like the death of a big named X-Man would. Plus, if it was a big named X-Man who was killed you would know that it would only be a matter of time before they were brought back to life.

Caliban’s death, along with the massive casualties and severally wounded characters, has created an excellent sense in the reader that this is a huge event. That is an all out battle for the very survival of the mutant race. It is just enough to make the reader buy into the scope and size of the Messiah Complex event. However, the writers have shrewdly not gone overboard with the killing of characters like we get over in Countdown which only serves to massively devalue the impact and meaning of the death of a character.

Because Caliban is the first character to die, his death has plenty of impact on the reader. If Caliban’s death was just another one in a long list of deaths then the reader would be numb to it and would have simply shrugged it off and moved on. The writers continue to impress me with their ability to properly manage this big event in nearly every aspect of the story.

I loved Warpath’s reaction to Caliban’s death. Warpath brutally kills the Reaver by throwing his knife through the Reaver’s face. Nice. That is how I like my Warpath. Vicious and rage fueled. I feel bad for Warpath. He has lost a close friend in Caliban. This is sure to have an impact on Warpath and how he approaches the upcoming battles with the Purifiers and the Marauders.

Messiah Complex continues to be a well plotted story. The writers are doing an incredible job by teasing the reader with a new and intriguing plotline in every single issue. In New X-Men #45 we learn that Reverend Craig knew all about Wolfsbane’s secret identity and other information concerning her past and her future. David has done a nice job over in X-Factor hinting that something sinister is going on with her visions of killing Jamie and Layla during their wedding night and Rahne’s feelings of being cursed. Clearly, Rahne is a confused and tormented soul. I’m curious to find out more about this connection between Reverend Craig and Rahne.

We get a solid hook ending with Cable stealing the Blackbird and making a quick getaway with the baby. Messiah Complex continues to be a riveting read where the reader is on the edge of their seat waiting for the next chapter of this story.

The Bad: New X-Men #45 is the weakest issue that we have gotten so far on the Messiah Complex. Still, if getting 7 out of 10 Night Girls is the worst an issue of a big story arc has received then the story arc is doing pretty damn good. Even a weak issue of the Messiah Complex story is better than your average comic book on the market.

I found the dialogue in this issue to be rather pedestrian. Nobody really had much of a developed voice. The dialogue that we got was just your standard issue comic book dialogue. It had that re-tread and slightly hackneyed feel to it like you have read all of it before.

I thought the fight between Lady Wolverine and Lady Deathstrike was too quick and easy. Since Lady Deathstrike is a big time Wolverine villain I would much rather see Logan lock horns with her. Having to watch Logan step aside and allow Wolverine-lite to fight Lady Deathstrike was like watching Batman step aside to let Batgirl take down the Joker. It just isn’t right.

I will admit that I am quickly getting bored with the Predator X plotline. The Predator X scenes feel largely like filler and I can’t say that the mindless beast is particularly intriguing. Hopefully, if nothing else, Predator X will lead to an entertaining fight scene at some point.

The Jamie/Layla plotline has been the only plotline that has suffered from the least amount of attention during the Messiah Complex story. We finally got some progression of this plotline when David got a crack at this story in X-Factor #26. However, any momentum that the Jamie/Layla plotline was finally building with X-Factor #26 once again came to a screeching halt with New X-Men #45.

The Jamie/Layla scene was rather pointless and boring and it accomplished nothing at all. It read like a weak gesture to pay some attention to this plotline. There was really no need for this scene at all other than to burn a couple of pages in an effort to waste time.

There is no doubt that Ramos is a talented artist. However, the fact remains that his artwork just doesn’t suite this story at all. Ramos is much better served to be delivering the artwork on a shonen manga type title. Also, all the characters pretty much have the same face. And Ramos’ versions of Emma and Monet were way too cute, wide-eyed and friendly looking. These two ladies are mega bitches and The Revolution likes our bad girls drawn bad not cute and perky.

Overall: New X-Men #45 was another solid installment of the Messiah Complex. It is only natural for even the best of story arcs to have a slight dip at some point during the story. And that is what this issue was. Messiah Complex is still a fantastic story and I still encourage everyone to give this story a try.

3 thoughts on “Messiah Complex: New X-Men #45 Review

  1. “Lady Wolverine.” Heh, that’s a good name.

    I agree of all the plots the future one has been the most underdeveloped; even apart from its relatively limited page time, it’s rather remote compared to all the other plot lines, given the temporal difference (and it’s an alernate reality, at that). And, really, the standard mutant future is a dystopia.

    Apart from that, a good middle chapter (and that’s where we are, in the middle), with a lot of action compared to last issue (they seem to be alternating between action-heavy segments, like this and the last UXM, and more dialogue-heavy issues). And this was some of Ramos’ better art, although I still don’t know why he’s doing this crossover; he looks nothing like Tan, Eaton, or Bachalo (while the latter is known for a somewhat stylized look, the colouring is at least similar to the other two); other than he was sitting around with nothing to do until Terry Moore hands his first Runaways script.

    I liked the Laura/Yuriko fight, especially since it’s still possible that Julian will wind up fridged as a result of this crossover, so his (sort-of) lady at least got revenge. And good villains never stay dead/whatever for long (I like Deathstrike’s new costume, too).

    At this point, the Reavers have basically been dealt with, and they were the Purifiers’ strike force, although Cyclops explicitly mentions the rest of them are still in play. Nevertheless, I think the main bad guys here are Sinister and Exodus’ forces, who have been largely kept off-screen so far, so I expect they’ll reemerge strongly in the last leg of the story.

    Based on Predator X changing course, my guess is he’ll go after Mutant Central, aka, the Mansion, thus giving Beast and the New X-Men something to do, since they’ve got a passel of can’t-be-moved injured people in the medical bay, since the overall action is heading into the field, with Cyclops and his massive team (including Darwin, who hasn’t been seen in a while) heading to join X-Force.

  2. I don’t think you should diss on X-23 just because of her Wolverine connection. She’s actually quite a deep character with a great tragic origin story, you should check out her minis.

    But I guess it won’t do anything for you if you don’t pass on your initial judgement of her as Wolverine-lite and such…

  3. I thought it was great when Wolverine stepped aside to let X fight, and said that he didn’t have time for it.

    Wolverine ends up in the same brawls over and over again.
    Nice to see him basically roll his eyes and skip it.
    Also X completely kicked Lady Deathstrikes ass.

    I’m not so sure that Caliban is dead, no one was taking a pulse.

    Really enjoying Messiah Complex.

Comments are closed.