Messiah Complex: X-Men #205 Review

Normally, The Revolution is unimpressed with Carey’s X-Men. However, I’m excited for X-Men #205 because of what a great read Messiah Complex has been up to this point. I’m sure that we will get yet another strong installment of Messiah Complex with this issue. The only downside to this issue is that I have to deal with slogging my way through that hot mess otherwise known as Bachalo’s artwork. All right, let’s go ahead and do this review.

Creative Team
Writer: Mike Carey
Pencils: Chris Bachalo
Inks: Tim Townsend

Art Rating: 2 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 5.5 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin with one of Madrox’s dupes and Layla Miller eighty years into the future. They are surveying a mutant internment camp. The dupe mentions how the library they went to had all its records edited. That it seemed that someone knew that they were coming.

We cut back to our present in Antarctica. The X-Men are squared off against the Marauders. The X-Men attack. We see Emma present with the X-Men in her astral form leading the X-Men in the attack.

We slide back to the X-Mansion where Scott is meeting with Bishop while Emma concentrates her energy on helping the X-Men strike team battling the Marauders. Emma is busy shielding her teammates from any and all telepathic attacks. It is a tactic that Mr. Sinister employs with his people so Scott decided to steal the idea and use it against Mr. Sinister.

We zip back over to the brawl between the Marauders and the X-Men. During the fight, Angel confronts Mr. Sinister and demands that Sinister surrender the mutant baby. We see Wolverine attack Gambit.

We cut to the Purifiers’ church in Washington, D.C., where Lady Deathstrike and her Reavers are brawling with the New X-Men. The battle isn’t going well for the New X-Men. Pixie concentrates and teleports the New X-Men out of the church. We see the New X-Men arriving in several different locations at random.

We shift back to the X-Mansion where Emma snaps out of her trance and yells that Pixie just screamed into her mind. That Pixie barely teleported the New X-Men to safety, but it was a blind teleport and the New X-Men are in locations spread out between the mansion and Washington, D.C.

Emma then comments that Pixie distracted her from coordinating the X-Men team battling the Marauders. That Emma lost contact with the assault team for a moment and now she can’t get it back. That Mr. Sinister is locking Emma out.

We cut back to the X-Men battling the Marauders. Wolverine starts slicing and dicing Gambit. Wolverine tells Gambit to tell him where the baby is located. We see Mr. Sinister finally springing to action now that Emma’s connection with the X-Men has been severed.

Scrambler, Lady Mastermind and Sentinel combine their powers to take down Wolverine. Scrambler’s powers turn off Wolverine’s healing factor, so he begins to die from adamantium poisoning. Nightcrawler takes out Lady Mastermind and Sentinel and grabs Wolverine. Wolverine tells Nightcrawler that the Marauders don’t have the baby. Nightcrawler then teleports Wolverine out of the fight scene.

We see Nightcrawler and Wolverine outside of Mr. Sinister’s base. Wolverine contacts Emma. Wolverine tells Emma that the Marauders don’t have the mutant baby. That an X-Man took the baby from Cooperstown.

We slide back to the X-Mansion where the pilot in one of the Sentinels gets infected by some virus that kills him and then takes control of the Sentinel. We cut to inside of the X-Mansion where Scott exclaims that what Wolverine said makes no sense. Beast responds that Gambit told Logan the information and Logan believed him. Scott replies that “he” would have contacted them. Emma responds that “he” would have only contacted the X-Men if “he” shared their agenda.

Scott then tells Emma to tell Storm to pull out now. Emma responds that she can’t reach Storm. Suddenly, the Sentinel whose pilot got infected smashes through the wall and attacks the X-Men.

We cut to a shadowy figure travelling through a snowy mountain. It is Cable and he is holding the mutant baby. End of issue.

The Good: X-Men #205 was a great read. Carey turned in a well constructed issue. The story had a nice flow to it as the reader bounced from the fight scene in Antarctica, the fight scene in Washington, D.C. and the scene at the X-Mansion. X-Men #205 was a fast paced issue that kept the reader on their toes.

Carey certainly dialed up tons of action in this issue. But, what was so great about the action scenes is that they weren’t just the usual mindless brawls that we normally get on this title. Each fight scene served to increase the tension in the reader as we raced to the dramatic hook ending of this issue. Having multiple fight scenes taking place in three different locations during this issue also adds to the grand scale of the Messiah Complex story and helps give it a feeling of a true big event.

I also like the strategy that Carey employs in the various action scenes. I liked Cyclops’ strategy of using Emma to shield the strike team against Mr. Sinister’s powers. I also loved the creative teamwork employed by the Marauders to take down Wolverine.

Carey dishes out a wonderfully dramatic hook ending to this issue. We have a Sentinel taken over by an unknown virus and attacking the X-Mansion. And then we have the stunning reveal that Cable is alive and well and has the mutant baby in his possession. That is how you end an in issue in style.

I love how the writers keep adding layer after layer onto this Messiah Complex story arc. The reader gets surprised with several new twists and turns in X-Men #205. It is always smart to answer a question with an even bigger question. And that is what Carey did with this issue. Now that that the question of who has the mutant baby is answered, the reader is presented with an even bigger question of why Cable isn’t working with the X-Men.

Now, I’ve never been a big fan of Cable, so I didn’t really have much of an opinion back when he was supposedly killed off. I did know that this is the X-Men, so no one is ever truly dead and that Cable would return at some point. Cable’s return does have a pretty large impact on Cyclops. Carey did a nice job showing the stunned reaction of Scott to the news of Cable begin alive and possessing the mutant baby. This is the first moment during the Messiah Complex story arc that Cyclops’ confident and always-in-control attitude appears shaken.

The Bad: I found Carey’s dialogue to be a bit stiff. It wasn’t as bad as usual, but it was definitely nothing great. Carey’s dialogue is certainly weaker than what we get from Brubaker and David on the other Messiah Complex issues.

As always, Bachalo’s artwork was simply a head ache inducing mess. He has a real knack for making any fight scene look like an incomprehensible clusterfuck.

Overall: X-Men #205 keeps the ball rolling on the Messiah Complex story arc. This story has been a blast to read. If you haven’t been reading the Messiah Complex issues, then I definitely recommend getting this story when it is released as a trade paperback. It is well worth your money.

2 thoughts on “Messiah Complex: X-Men #205 Review

  1. I’m generally not a Bachalo fan, but I thought this was a strong issue from him.

    I really enjoy the scope of this story. It reminds me a lot of Batman: Hush, which basically brought in Batman’s entire rogues gallery, supporting cast, etc. for one big adventure. Five (six, counting the one-shot) issues into this thirteen-parter, we’ve already got all the X-teams, Mister Sinister, Mystique, the Marauders, the Acolytes, Lady Deathstrike and the Reavers, and the Purifiers, in a plot that spans the present to the distant future.

    I also like that the X-Men have been given a bit of respect in terms of their capabilities. When they show up, the villains are worried (Ramos’ art is hit-and-miss, but that one panel from the last NXM where five X-Men bust through a wall and the Marauders/Acolytes look alarmed is a definite hit). They manhandled the lose Acolytes easily, and were running the table on the Acolytes/Marauders until the psi-shielding cut out.

    On a cosmetic note, Storm looked very cool channeling her lightning through Harpoon’s harpoon; she should keep it. Very Thor-ish.

  2. I thought this was one of Bachalo’s strongest issues so far, not as chaotic as it usually is.

    And at least to me, Carey’s dialogue had been immensely superior to Brubaker’s work. I’ve found Brubaker’s X-Men to be painfully dull, which is surprising given how good he is on Daredevil and Captain America.

    Still, I’m enjoying Messiah Complex a lot so far.

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