X-Men #191 Review

Carey and Bachalo’s run on the X-Men has been O.K. Nothing great, but certainly nothing bad. I would say a little better than average. Carey is a dependable writer, but hasn’t really impressed me so far. Bachalo’s art is a bit of an acquired taste and I don’t think I have that type of taste. We do have a guest artist on this issue. Clay Henry. Will X-Men #191 impress me and get me hooked on this storyline? Let’s find out.

Creative Team
Writer: Mike Carey
Penciler: Clay Henry
Inker: Mark Morales

Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6.5 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: This issue starts with Serafina in Lady Mastermind’s hospital room and Serafina is merging her abilities with Lady Mastermind’s powers in order to take control of Cannonball’s mind. Serafina creates a world in Cannonball’s mind where they are married.

We shift to Cable, Rogue and Cyclops questioning Sabertooth. Sabertooth mentions that he was hired to kill some scientist in Peru. The scientists had been working on something incredible that was housed in an old tanker ship called the Vault. The ship was reinforced with a hull that was eight feet thick.

We cut back to Cannonball’s fantasy life with Serafina. We then shift back to Sabertooth’s story. Sabertooth mentions how he and his partner, Pasco, boarded this mysterious vessel that the scientist was talking about. Suddenly, the events of M-Day occurred and Sabertooth’s partner, Pasco, lost his mutant powers. Then the top of the vessel opened up and out came the Children of the Vault. They kill Pasco and Sabertooth barely managed to escape. The Children of the Vault have been on Sabertooth’s trail ever since that day.

We shift back to Cannonball’s fantasy world with Serafina. Cannonball says that nothing feels right. Cannonball starts to pull out of the fantasy world. We then shift back to Lady Mastermind’s hospital room where Wolverine has cut the cables attaching Lady Mastermind to Serafina.

Serafina uses some devise that turns Wolverine’s adamantium into a poisonous form of adamantium. Serafina then teleports away. We then shift to Wolverine and Cannonball arriving back at Xavier’s mansion. Cable, Cyclops, Emma Frost and Rogue are all discussing what Sabertooth just told them. Cable explains that the Vault was a ship that scientists in the early 1970’s used to conduct their tests concerning the theory of temporal acceleration where the speed of evolution is increased. In the 30 years that the testing was conducted on the ship, the people inside of it would have lived for through six thousand years. The Children of the Vault are not mutants. They are fully human, but after so many centuries of genetic drift, they count as a separate species. And the technologies that they have developed are as dangerous as any super powers.

We shift to the Vault where Sangre is voicing his displeasure with Serafina “playing” with Cannonball. Sangre says that their time of hiding must come to an end. That it is time for their inevitable class with the mutants. We get a splash shot of the Vault flying through the air. End of issue.

Comments
The Good: This issue was ok. Nothing great, but nothing bad. I like the Children of the Vault. I think they have some interesting powers and pretty cool character designs. I think that they will be fun villains to watch in action.

This issue moved along a nice pace. Carey clearly has a nicely plotted and defined story arc in mind and is delivering it in a well developed fashion. Carey did a better job with the dialogue in this issue. The dialogue was more varied and didn’t feel like a “tough talking” competition like what we got in the previous couple of issues.

I think that Henry’s artwork is an upgrade from Bachalo’s art. I know that Henry is just a fill-in artists, but I liked the look he gave this title. Usually, I don’t dig fill-in artists. This was definitely the exception where I thought that the fill-in artist was better than the regular artist.

The Bad: I found the Serafina/Cannonball dream scenes to be way too long and somewhat boring and uninteresting. Other than to show off Serafina’s powers, these scenes were largely unnecessary.

I still think that Carey has failed to create much chemistry between the various characters. All the characters are written too similarly. Carey seems more concerned with having a collection of “tough guy” characters rather than creating unique personalities for the individual characters and having them play off each other and compliment each other in an interesting fashion.

The more I learn about the Children of the Vault, the less interesting they become. Their origin read like your average Sci Fi story. Their origin wasn’t anything particularly exciting or interesting. I was hoping for something a bit more compelling than the revelation that they are just more evolved humans.

The Children of the Vault’s master plan has presented itself as nothing more than your standard villainous plan to destroy the world. There doesn’t seem to be much motivation or anything different or interesting about why they want to destroy the world. It appears that we are in store for a story arc that basically consists of mindless violence and fighting dressed up in some silly Sci Fi babble about the Children’s existence and purpose.

Carey turns in a dependable standard comic book story. I’m still new to Carey’s work, but based on what I have seen from him on this title, Ultimate Fantastic Four and Wetworks, I can’t say that his work is anything spectacular.

Carey’s story is beginning to come across as just a standard comic book story. This storyline doesn’t seem to be that interesting or different. I just get the feeling that I have read this before. Carey’s writing reads like your typical comic book story. Carey reads like a solid journeyman writer. Carey will never turn out a total stinker like Bruce Jones’ run on Nightwing or Daniel Way over on Ghost Rider, but Carey will certainly never hit the home run and deliver something unusual or stunning like Grant Morrison, Mark Millar, Brain Bendis, Peter David or Ed Brubaker may deliver.

Overall: X-Men #191 is a solid read. Carey has certainly made X-Men better than it has been in a while. However, that isn’t saying much since I have found this title to be pathetically pedestrian for quite some time. I think that Carey is getting better and better with each issue. This current story arc should definitely provide the reader with plenty of action. I think most readers would probably find X-Men to be a rather entertaining read.

2 Comments

  1. In the 30 years that the testing was conducted on the ship, the people inside of it would have lived for through six thousand years.

    Um, didn’t Grant Morrison do something exactly like this in New X-Men, with the whole Weapon Plus program?

  2. It’s possible Carey is referencing exactly that. Morrison’s run provided so much riff-material, future creators will be running with it for years to come (see: Whedon, Astonishing X-Men).

    Long and short: give it one more issue.

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