OK, I realize that I haven’t reviewed this title over the past several issues. In fact, the last X-Men issue I reviews was issue #192. The reason for that is because I just haven’t found the past couple of issues interesting. And since I was slightly behind in reviews I chose to review books that were more interesting to review instead of books that I found to be a bit boring. I don’t expect X-Men #195 to be anything great. So far, Carey hasn’t been able to hook me with his run on this title. Let’s go ahead and hit this review.
Writer: Mike Carey
Penciler: Humberto Ramos
Inkers: Carlos Cuevas
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 5.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with Cable and Cannonball rushing to the aid of the team of Sentinel, Lady Mastermind and Ice Man who have all fallen in battle to Richard Palance and his Plague Dogs.
We shift back in time to the team of Sentinel, Lady Mastermind, Iceman and Mystique trying to locate where the Plague Dogs took Rogue. Sentinel create a gateway for Mystique, Iceman and Lady Mastermind to follow the Plague Dogs and Rogue. Sentinel will follow them. Unfortunately, Sentinel isn’t able to control where the X-Men appear when they come out of the gateway.
We cut to Lady Mastermind being teleported up high in the sky. Iceman is teleported inside of a wall with half his body sticking out of the wall. However, after his fight with Northstar and Aurora, Iceman has learned that ice isn’t flesh. It is crystal. And every part of a crystal contains eno9ugh information to re-create the whole. With that, Iceman shatters himself and then reforms himself outside of the wall from one of the ice shards.
Iceman spies Lady Mastermind falling from the sky and makes an ice ramp and rescues her. They then find Mystique who is still partway trapped in the gateway and isn’t able to fully materialize. Sentinel then appears next to the X-Men and Mystique disappears. Sentinel says she doesn’t know where Mystique went. Sentinel recognizes that they have been teleported to Calcutta, India. The X-Men don some local garb and go hunting for Rogue.
We shift to Cannonball and Cable loading Sabertooth into a cell on the Conquistador. Our heroes then head out in the Conquistador in the direction of their X-Men teammates.
We cut to our X-Men in India outside of an apartment building. Lady Mastermind says that she can sense that this apartment building is an illusion. She erases the illusion so the X-Men can see what is truly there. We see a large tower that is serving as Pandemic’s secret base.
The X-Men bust through the tower and begin brawling with the guards inside. Palance appears himself to deal with the X-Men. Palance quickly takes down Lady Mastermind. Iceman and Palance then brawl. During the brawl, Iceman uses his powers to create low temperature transition fractures and destroys Palance’s gene banks. Palance is enraged and takes out Iceman. Palance then brawls with Sentinel and takes her out.
We cut back to Cannonball and Cable in the Conquistador. They have arrived in Calcutta but Palance locks up the Conquistador’s controls. Cable says that if they can’t help their teammates themselves then they have to send them something they can use. Cannonball retorts what are they doing to send? That O.N.E. stripped the Conquistador of all its weapons. Cable says that he managed to hold onto one weapon and pushes a button.
We then see Sabertooth being dropped out of the bay of the Conquistador. End of issue.
The Good: X-Men #195 was a slightly above average read. This is pretty much what I expect from Carey. He rarely delivers a real stinker of a comic book. However, he also rarely delivers a read that is anything special. Carey is a journeyman comic book writer who is steady and dependable.
The good thing about Carey is that you know exactly what you are going to get: a standard issue comic book story with plenty of action and generic dialogue. Like I have said before, Carey is the type of writer that you could see writing episodes for a typical Sci Fi Channel action show.
X-Men #195 is no different. We get plenty of action, an easy to hate villain, your typical “witty” banter between our heroes and a story that moves along at a quick pace. It is pretty much the comic book equivalent of popcorn. An enjoyable quick snack, but nothing of any real substance that truly satisfies your hunger or sustains you for a long period of time.
I do appreciate that Carey has a clear direction with this story arc and is not wasting time moving the story along at a brisk pace. It helps compensate for a less than intriguing or compelling storyline. If this was delivered at a slow pace then it would completely lose my interest.
Carey also gives us plenty of rapid fire action. We get brawls galore. And Carey really lets Iceman shine in this issue. I have always liked Iceman and it is great to see a writer finally doing something with Bobby’s character. Carey is really exploring Iceman’s powers and abilities in new and interesting directions.
I love the fact that Iceman is made up entirely of ice crystals. The scene where he shatters himself in order to free himself from the wall he is stuck in and then reconstitutes himself from a single ice shard was extremely cool. I really Iceman’s expanded abilities and it definitely gives him a power boost and makes him much more of a serious threat in a fight.
I’m also starting to warm up to Lady Mastermind. Initially, her character didn’t interest me at all. Now, aside from begin a total hottie in a sexy leather costume, Lady Mastermind is starting to develop her own interesting personality. I dig Lady Mastermind’s smart ass personality and her constant ribbing of Iceman is great. It keeps the dialogue quick and lively and creates good chemistry between Lady Mastermind and Iceman.
Palance is a standard issue over the top and extremely evil villain. There are no shads of grey with this character and Carey makes it easy for us to hate him. Palance is a real powerhouse and is definitely going to provide real fight for the X-Men.
Carey ends the issue with a great hook ending. I don’t like Sabertooth on the X-Men, but I have to admit that the ending was seriously cool. It even got me all geeked up for the next issue to see Sabertooth kick some serious ass.
The Bad: Carey’s dialogue is rather uninspired. It reads like your generic comic book dialogue. None of the characters have much in the way of a developed personality or a unique voice. Other than the banter between Lady Mastermind and Iceman, there is a real lack of chemistry between the characters.
The overall feel of Carey’s story has a “paint by numbers” feel to it. The story isn’t lacks any real substance that engages the reader and pulls them into the story. Carey has failed to get me interested in the majority of his cast of characters. Sentinel, Mystique and Cable all bore me. Cannonball has been underutilized. And I still don’t like Sabertooth on the X-Men team.
While I think Palance is a dependable villain, I personally prefer my villains to be more complex and gray. A story arc is only as strong as the villain, and Palance is rather one-dimensional. This makes the overall story arc a bit shallow.
I dig Humberto Ramos’ art, but not on this title. Ramos’ cartoonish artwork belongs more on an offbeat funky title or a manga style comic book. It just doesn’t work for me on a more serious comic book like X-Men.
Overall: X-Men #195 was an acceptable read. Nothing terrible, but nothing great. If you like lots of fighting and explosions then Carey’s X-Men is definitely for you. If you like your comic books to have more substance and weight to them then you probably won’t be that impressed with X-Men.