X-Men #199 Review

X-Men just keeps missing the mark for The Revolution. I have tried and tried to get into this title and I just can’t do it. It amazes me that one of Marvel’s flagship titles has not been a quality read in such a long time. Carey’s X-Men continues to be a sub par read. I have no reason to believe that X-Men #199 is going to be anything different. Let’s hit this review.

Creative Team
Writer: Mike Carey
Penciler: Chris Bachalo
Inker: Tim Townsend

Art Rating: 3 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 2 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 2.5 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin with the X-Men brawling with Hecatomb. Sabertooth has broken out of his stasis field and has locked Sentinel out of the systems controls for the Conquistador.

Suddenly, the Conquistador’s engines start to hit critical mass. I have no idea why or how due to the jumbled mess that this fight scene is. What I do know is that the Conquistador is powered by a fusion core that if it explodes will be like a small sun.

Mystique asks Iceman if he can take care of it. Iceman comments that they will find out. Mystique then gives Iceman a kiss for good luck. Iceman then freezes the Conquistador and prevents everyone from getting crispy fried.

Cable then reveals that he is the one who brought the Conquistador down. That he didn’t have time to warn them. Cable thought the explosion would be big enough to take out Hecatomb, but it wasn’t. That Cable has his psi powers back as a gift from the Mummudrai, Urizen. Cable tells Sentinel to evacuate the wounded.

Cable and Urizen have melded minds and they begin brawling with Hecatomb. Unfortunately, Cable and Urizen aren’t powerful enough as Hecatomb kicks their asses. Cable needs a diversion and calls out for Rogue who is lying in a hospital bed. Cable wakes Rogue up and tells her that he needs her.

One of the nurses touches Rogue to prevent her from getting out of her hospital bed. The nurse drops to the floor dead. Rogue has absorbed the nurse’s entire life force. Rogue comments that with just one touch all of the nurse’s mind and memories are within Rogue. Rogue comments that her powers are even worse than ever. Rogue then engages in some traditional Carey penned tough talk and flies off to join the fight.

Hecatomb is still beating up Cable and Urizen. Urizen tells Cable that Hecatomb is about to absorb him. Cannonball blasts into the scene and pulls Cable out just in time to save him, but Hecatomb is able to absorb Urizen.

Rogue then appears on the scene, gives us some quick tough talk and then begins fighting Hecatomb. Rogue tries to absorb the minds from Hecatomb. That plan backfires and Rogue gets overwhelmed by all the minds and she comes crashing down into the ground.

Cable says that this is all his fault. That Rogue just absorbed the eight billion minds from within Hecatomb. That these eight billion lives are all casualties of a long gone war. That it is too much for Rogue. Mystique then shows she can tough talk by threatening to kill Cable if anything happens to Rogue. (Yawn.)

Cable says that even stripped of its minds, the Hecatomb is still a bomb and it is now counting down to detonation. Cable says they have maybe thirty seconds to stop it. Unfortunately, Cable’s psi powers disappeared once Urizen got killed.

Cable tells Iceman to take the Hecatomb as close to absolute zero as possible in order to take the metal past its stress tolerances. Once Iceman gets the bomb to almost absolute zero, Cannonball and Sentry fly as fast as possible and smash into the bomb and destroy it.

Rogue claims to be all right. She then engages in a double extra large serving of tough talk telling Cable to back the hell off and that she isn’t going back to the mansion to have Emma poke through her mind. Rogue comments how her hands are itching and that she is going to need to touch something real soon.

Cable comments that Rogue is traumatized and that he thinks she is drowning. That Rogue is still infected with Strain 88 and on top of that she is infected with a world full of alien minds. Cable says they need to consult with Emma and Hank and until then they need to watch her closely.

Sentinel then inspects the wreckage of the Conquistador and says that there is no sign of Creed. That Sabertooth survived the crash and walked away without a scratch. End of issue.

The Good: X-Men #199 was just a dreadful read. I cannot imagine how I’m going to satisfy The Revolution’s Rule of Positivity with regard to this issue. Let’s see, what in the world did I enjoy about this issue. Hmmmm. I got it. It appears that Sabertooth is no longer part of the X-Men. Thank god. I have hated Sabertooth’s inclusion on the X-Men. Hopefully, Sabertooth goes his own way and we don’t see him again on this title. Let Sabertooth do his funky Lupine thing over on Wolverine and leave him off the X-Men.

The Bad: X-Men #199 was a total mess. This was really a lousy read. Carey’s story is horribly paced and plotted. This entire story arc has been one rambling story. It has had terrible flow and doesn’t progress in a natural and fluid fashion. At no point have I gotten the impression that Carey has anything of importance in store for this title. Carey seems to lack any direction or purpose. Instead, all we get is plenty of mindless action. Carey’s X-Men is plenty of noise and flash but it is lacking any substance whatsoever.

Carey’s dialogue is pathetic. It is so cheesy that it actually elicits groans from the reader. All we get is generic tough talk from each and every single character. None of the X-Men display a distinct external voice. They all talk in the same tough talking voice that seems to be inspired by a 1980’s Arnold Schwarzenegger action flick.

Carey’s character work is equally unimpressive. Carey writes every single X-Men identical to each other. Carey has failed to engage in even a token effort at developing and fleshing out the characters and personalities of the various X-Men. These characters are about as generic as you can get. Carey’s X-Men are extremely one-dimensional and shallow characters.

Carey has failed to create a single plotline that even remotely engages my interest. I don’t care about Sabertooth’s tired feud with the X-Men. I could honestly care less about the Mummudrai. And the Strain 88 plotline involving Rogue is less than interesting. All Strain 88 seems to do is make Rogue engage in even more tough talk than a normal Carey written character.

The massive sprawling fight in X-Men #199 was an terribly messy, confusing and poorly choreographed fight. I mean, action scenes are about the easiest part of a comic book to write and Carey and Bachalo can’t even do that well. Now, I don’t know who is more to blame for this crapfest of a fight. Is it Carey failing to draft an interesting and well thought out fight? Or is it Bachalo’s crack headed artwork that makes this action scene look like a chaotic mess? Maybe it is a bit of both.

And that leads me to Bachalo’s artwork which I find to be nothing more than complete clutter. Bachalo’s panels are virtually impossible to follow. They look like nothing more than a random jumble of doodles. I think Bachalo’s scenes would have made more sense to me if I took about 10 bong hits and then read X-Men #199 upside down.

Bachalo continues to draw everyone with pretty much the same face. And the only emotion he seems to be able to draw is anger. Bachalo still suffers from Rob Liefeld’s disease that renders an artist completely incapable of drawing hands and feet. Bachalo’s manga style artwork would probably look much better in black and white and in a manga themed comic. The X-Men is just not the right title for Bachalo’s artwork.

Overall: X-Men #199 was just a mess of a read. There was really nothing about this issue that I found well done. Carey’s writing continues to be average at best. Bachalo’s artwork continues to be a poor fit for this title. Carey’s mind numbingly dumb X-Men is the antithesis of David’s through provoking intelligent X-Factor. At this point I would not recommend X-Men to anyone other than die-hard X-Men fans.