The last issue of X-Men didn’t impress me all that much. I’m finding Carey’s story to be a bit unoriginal and less than exciting. However, X-Men is still an above average read. I have a feeling that X-Men #192 is going to be a more interesting read than the last issue. Let’s find out.
Writer: Mike Carey
Penciler: Chris Bachalo
Inkers: Tim Townsend, Jamie Mendoza, Mark Irwin, Jon Sibal and Victor Olazaba
Art Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: The issue begins with Rogue attempting to give Sabertooth a shot. Sabertooth is chained to the wall. Sabertooth breaks his chains loose from the wall and we have a short brawl before Cannonball quickly takes down Sabertooth. Beast gives Sabertooth the shot and restates his opinion that he is against what they are doing to Sabertooth.
Beast then leaves the room and runs into Lady Mastermind in the hallway who is up from her hospital bed. We then cut over to Mystique and Cable in the main computer room searching for the Conquistador and discussing the future. Mystique is curious as to how she was remembered in history in Cable’s future. Cable tells her that her name is a generic term for traitor as Judas is now. Cable then mentions that he has found the Conquistador.
We conveniently shift over to the Conquistador where Sangre orders Serafina to drop the cloak. That he wants everyone to know that their executioners have arrived.
We slip back to Beast talking to Lady Mastermind. Lady Mastermind tells Beast that the last thing she remembered was being back at the Hellfire Club and then suddenly she woke up on a slab in some strange laboratory. Beast informs Lady Mastermind that she was unconscious for more than a year. That they found her in a private hospital where she was being held incognito by a person or organization named Pan.
We cut back to the Conquistador where U.S. Air Force fighter planes have arrived on the scene. Fuego and Ajuga destroy them in spectacular fashion. We then hop back to the X-Men mansion where Cyclops is yelling at Rogue for attempting to take Sabertooth out of their custody. Rogue tells Cyclops that Sabertooth has been injected with nano-sentinels and that Cable or Karma can activate them instantly if Sabertooth gets out of hand.
Cyclops states that he is opposed to injecting nano-sentinels into Sabertooth. Cyclops questions if Rogue has a viable strategy in attacking the Conquistador. Cable tells Cyclops that this is a combat situation and it is not the time to start overruling his own squad leader. Rogue reminds Cyclops that he said she could pick her own team which would be an independent strike force to handle stuff in the field while he guards the mansion. No arguments. No limits. Rogue says she has chosen her team and Cyclops has to live with it. Her team is comprised of Cable, Sabertooth, Karma, Lady Mastermind, Mystique, Iceman and Cannonball. They then take off in a Blackbird.
During the flight, Mystique thanks Rogue for having faith in her to add her to the team. Rogue says that it is just the opposite. That she doesn’t trust Mystique at all and if someone has to watch her then it should be Rogue. The Blackbird arrives in front of the Conquistador. The X-Men land and search the deck of the Conquistador for a door. Suddenly, the Children come out of the Conquistador and we have a big brawl. During the fight, Fuego reduced Iceman to nothing more than a puddle and some steam. The Children have the upper hand in the fight and Sangre tells Rogue that they have reached their destination. That Rogue can watch her X-Men being destroyed. We see the Conquistador hovering over the X-Men’s mansion. End of issue.
The Good: X-Men #192 was a solid read. It is basically the comic book equivalent to a Honda Civic. It is reliable. Has a good warranty. Is a sound ride and gets you where you want to go. Plus, it gives you just enough style that you don’t feel like a dork driving it. But, that is about it. You won’t confuse it with an STi or an EVO. You certainly wouldn’t compare it to an exotic Italian car. That is Carey’s X-Men. It is a solid, average and dependable read. You get a standard issue comic book story that isn’t going to disappoint you; however it also isn’t going to really impress you that much, either.
I like the Children and it was cool to see them in action. They all have interesting powers and nice character designs. I think the ending was good enough to get the reader excited for the next issue. I would imagine that we are in store for a massive brawl next issue.
I was surprised to see Iceman reduced to nothing more than steam and a puddle by Fuego. I can’t believe that Iceman is truly dead. My reason is that the scene was so quick and un-monumental and was treated like a mere afterthought. No way would Carey kill of Iceman in such a weak and lame manner. Iceman is one of the original X-Men. And original X-Men don’t go out like a bitch. So, I would think that we will see Iceman make a triumphant return.
The Bad: Carey continues to fail to impress me with his writing. I found X-Men #192 to be a very average and standard comic book story. It wasn’t terrible, but it certainly wasn’t anything remarkable. This story reads like your typical “paint by numbers” comic book story. I just feel like I have read this story several times before. I don’t really see where Carey is going with this story other than a big pointless brawl.
And I thought it was odd that Carey would make such a big deal out of Rogue leading her independent strike force that wouldn’t answer to Cyclops and then have the issue end with the Conquistador over the X-Men’s mansion. Since Cyclops is in charge of the team while guarding the mansion, then doesn’t that mean that Rogue and her team have to revert back to following Cyclops’ lead? I just thought the entire point of making Rogue the leader of this strike force meant that we would see them in action without the rest of the X-Men involved and that we’d see Rogue in the unusual spot as leader. However, by bringing the Conquistador back to the X-Men’s mansion, I see no other logical course than for Cyclops to resume control of the team and for the brawl to involve all the X-Men and not just the members on the strike force.
I like the Children and I think they are neat looking characters who have lots of potential. Unfortunately, Carey has failed to develop any of their characters at all. They are nothing more than your standard issue comic book villains bent on the destruction of all humankind.
The construction and plotting of this issue is choppy and it gives the story jerky feel to it. The dialogue is average at best. Unfortunately, once again, we are treated to a massive amount of “tough talk.” Carey writes everyone almost identical. Everyone seems to have a Doctorate in Tough Talk. It gets tired and old. Plus, it has the unfortunate character of making all the various X-Men seem rather one-dimensional. None of the characters are fully fleshed out or have much in the way of a unique personality. This also explains why Carey has failed to get me to buy into Rogue as this big shot leader of the strike force. Rogue just reads like Wolverine in drag.
Chris Bachalo’s artwork is clearly an acquired taste. And it is evidently a taste that I do not possess. Bachalo’s proportions are odd, however that is clearly his style and he is obviously doing it on purpose so I can’t really knock him for that. However, I can say that Bachalo clearly struggles to draw faces. Everyone has the exact same face and it is a rather basic and generic looking face on top of that. If it weren’t for the costumes, I’d never be able to tell anyone apart. I still haven’t been able to tell Iceman and Cannonball apart unless they are in costume. Bachalo also seems to struggle at conveying emotion through facial expressions. Everyone either has a generic expressionless look or a generic yelling look.
Now, I think Bachalo has talent, I just think this is absolutely the wrong title for his style of art. I think Bachalo would do great on an American manga-style comic book. Especially, if it is a fantasy based storyline. Bachalo’s simple and slightly cartoon-ish style is very dynamic and would fit that style of comic perfectly.
Overall: X-Men #192 just continues to miss the mark with me. This title continues to be a very ordinary read. I can totally understand why many readers would enjoy this title. If you like Carey’s writing and you like action and tough guy characters then you will certainly enjoy this story arc. And if you dig Bachalo’s style of art then this title will be a fun read for you. Unfortunately, neither gentleman has been able to impress me much with their efforts on this title.