Messiah Complex: X-Men #207 Review

The Messiah Complex has been nothing short of spectacular. The boys at Marvel have done a fantastic job crafting a wonderfully detailed and executed story arc. There is simply no way in the world that the conclusion to the Messiah Complex could disappoint me. I simply can’t see the X-writers not being able to deliver a nicely crafted ending fitting to such a wild and fun ride. Let’s go ahead and hit this review for X-Men #207.

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

Art Rating: 2 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 3.5 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin with Predator X attacking Cable and Bishop. Bishop shoots at the creature which only causes Predator X to chomp down on Bishop for a little snack. Cable takes the opportunity to take the baby and turn tail and run.

We cut to the X-Men brawling with the Marauders. Scott decides to send X-Force after Predator X and to send the New X-Men after the Marauders. Scott’s logic is that the Marauders have spent forever training to battle the X-Men so the change up by sending the New X-Men against the Marauders should give our heroes the upper hand.

We see X-Force battling Predator X without much success. Cyclops then approaches Cable and asks for the baby. Cable points his gun at Cyclops. Scott says that Nathan would have already shot Scott if he wanted to. Scott tells Nathan to put the gun down and hand over the baby. Professor X then tells Cable to do what Scott says.

We skip over to Rogue fully recovered from the Strain 88. Rogue decides that it is time to end this endless cycle of murder and manipulation between her and Mystique. Rogue takes off her glove and says that it is all going to end now.

We slide back to X-Force still not having any success against Predator X. Fortunately, Emma and the New X-Men are having plenty of success against the Marauders.

We go back to Cable, Scott and Professor X. Cable puts his gun down and hands over the baby. Xavier says that Scott is the leader of the X-Men and he must speak for them all. That Cable has done his part and has had his say.

We hop back to Rogue grabbing Mystique and sucking away her life. We cut back to X-Force still battling with Predator X. Our heroes are getting frustrated because Predator X is virtually indestructible and nothing penetrates his hide. So, Wolverine hops into the monster’s mouth and gets swallowed. Lady Wolverine has clearly never seen a monster movie or read a comic book and freaks out that Wolverine just got eaten. We then see Wolverine slice and dice his way out of Predator X from the inside. Predator X is now dead.

We slide back to Scott holding the baby. The baby begins to play with Scott’s locket of him and Jean Grey. Scot remembers when Nathan as a baby was taken from him. Scott then remembers Jean dying for the last time. Xavier tells Scott that he can’t control the future. That he can only allow it be born. Xavier says that there are at least two possible futures and that the child is the key that opens both of them.

We shift back to Rogue and Gambit. Rogue says that Mystique isn’t dead. Rogue mentions that when she was healed from the Strain 88, that all the minds she had absorbed over the years were also erased. That it was just Rogue. For about a minute. That now it is Rogue and Mystique in her head. Rogue says that she wish she had seen this sooner because then she never would have touched Mystique. Rogue then says that Mystique is the last person she ever wants to see and now Mystique is stuck in her head. Rogue then says that she needs to go away and be by herself and think. Rogue then leaves.

We cut back to all the members of the X-Men, X-Factor, New X-Men and X-Force standing around Scott holding the baby. All the villains have been defeated. Scott kisses the baby and puts his locket around her neck and then hands her back to Cable. Scott tells Cable to take the baby and get out of here. That the baby needs to be herself and choose for herself rather than be a key or a strategic resource or a playing piece in someone else’s game. Scott tells Cable to give the baby the freedom that Scott was never able to give Cable.

Cable then teleports from the scene. As Cable is teleporting away, Bishop wakes up and screams “NO!” and fires several shots at Cable’s disappearing form. The shots wiz through where Cable was standing and blast Professor X in the head. Cyclops then blasts Bishop taking him out.

The Beast examines Professor X and pronounces him dead from the head shot from Bishop. The X-Men all surround Professor X and stand there. They ask Scott what do they do know? Scott responds that Xavier’s dream begins with him and ends with him. That there are no X-Men. Suddenly, Xavier’s body disappears and nobody seems to notice that little fact. We then fade to black.

We zip forward to the future where Cable is standing there holding the baby. Cable tells the child that they made it and now comes the hard part. End of issue.

The Good: I didn’t find X-Men #207 all that great of a read, but it still had plenty of positive aspects to it. This was certainly a fast paced issue. The X-writers have done a great job during the Messiah Complex of making sure that there were very few slow parts to this story arc.

And this ending to the Messiah Complex was certainly full of action and had numerous twists and turns. Even though I wasn’t all that impressed with the various surprises that we got with X-Men #207, the fact is that you cannot deny that the writers kept the swerves coming at the reader right up to the very end. And that is exactly what made this story arc such a fun read.

Carey makes sure that the reader gets their fill of plenty of furious action in this issue. We get a huge brawl with the Marauders as well as a bloody and vicious fight with Predator X. If you dig action then you will certainly enjoy X-Men #207.

I thought Carey did a great job with Scott’s character. The writers have done an incredible job growing Scott’s character throughout the Messiah Complex. And Carey continues that strong character work by showing Scott evolving even more with the ending to this story. I liked that Scott was able to step back and examine his motivation for recovering the baby. Scott displays the maturity of a great leader to admit when he is wrong and to allow the baby to choose her own destiny.

The scene between Scott and Cable was handled very well. It was properly dramatic and actually quite emotional. The reader could feel Scott’s pain and his regret that he had failed his son. That this regret was the fuel for Scott not making the same mistake twice with this baby.

I also enjoyed how Carey handled Rogue and Mystique in this issue. I’m glad that we finally cured Rogue of the goofy Strain 88. That plotline was beginning to wear thin with me. I thought that Rogue’s decision to take out Mystique in order to end this twisted circle of violence and manipulation made perfect sense. I also like the tragic twist of Rogue realizing too late that she was clear of every single mind that she had absorbed through her life. That now Rogue is stuck with Mystique’s twisted mind inside of her head. Rogue is the eternal tragic character and Carey does a nice job making the reader feel sorry for Rogue’s unfortunate destiny.

I’m also glad that Carey had Rogue deciding to leave and spend some time alone. Rogue is a good character, but I think that we need a break from her for a while. I would like to see her go away and let the writers figure out a fresh new angle to handle her character.

The Bad: I have to seriously question the logic of ending this mega story arc with Carey when he is the weakest writer of the bunch. Personally, I would have placed the duty of closing out the Messiah Complex in the more talented hands of either Brubaker or David. Marvel really should have really opted to end this story arc with Uncanny X-Men. This was a huge mistake.

As always, I like to break out football (American flavor) analogies to make my point. Imagine being down by 3 points with only two minutes left in the game. On your bench you have Tom Brady, Payton Manning and Matt Schaub and you decide to put Schaub in the game. Schaub is a solid NFL quarterback, but he is no Brady or Manning. And you would never put Schaub in with two minutes left with the game on the line over the other two quarterbacks. That is pretty much what Marvel did with choosing to end the Messiah Complex with Carey instead of either David or Brubaker.

The dialogue was average at best. Most of the time it was bland and lacked any soul or emotion. Outside of Scott, none of the characters displayed much depth to their personalities. Instead, all the characters simply went through the motions like lifeless puppets.

The plotting was a bit of a disappointment. It seems like the writers really rushed through this ending. I think we could have used a bit less set-up for this finale and gotten more time to spend on the actual climax and what the future has in store for the X-Men.

I have never been much of a fan of the Predator X plotline and have always viewed that as the weakest aspect of Messiah Complex. X-Men #207 only serves to bolster that belief. Predator X brought nothing of importance or substance to this story. It was merely a throwaway plotline designed to takes up space and waste some time.

The brawl between X-Force and Predator X was mindless and rather unoriginal. We have seen this fight between the heroes and a seemingly invincible monster hundreds of times before. And the resolution to this battle was stunningly unoriginal. I have seen it plenty of times before where the hero gets the not so novel idea of getting swallowed by said invincible creature in order to blast their way out from the soft insides of the monster leading to the demise of said invincible monster. It was entirely predictable and made for a rather dull experience.

The big bomb to the Messiah Complex turns out to having nothing to do with the baby that everyone has been killing each other in order to get their hands on. Nope. The big bomb to this story arc was Xavier’s “death.” Meh. I was expecting something more interesting and original than Xavier’s death. Haven’t we thought Xavier was dead several times before? And do I think that Marvel is going to let Professor X stay dead? No way. Especially since Xavier will be the main character in X-Men: Legacy.

Even though Xavier is not really and truly dead, I still found this “death scene” to be poorly executed. Talk about going out like a total bitch. This “death” was utterly inappropriate for a character the status of Charles Xavier. Hell, even Caliban a no-name D-list character got a much cooler and more heroic death than Professor X. Honestly, having Bishop accidently shoot Professor X was so random and goofy. I think that simply having a giant anvil fall out of the air and kill Xavier would have made just as much sense.

Professor X’s “death” came across terribly forced. Xavier’s “death” comes across in a hurried and rushed manner that lacks any impact or meaning. Like I said, you might get away with doing this with a minor character, but you simply cannot with a character of the mighty stature of Professor X.

And what a terrible job Carey did with the reaction of the various X-Men to Professor X’s “death.” Charles just got his head blown off and everyone reacts with a ho-hum response. It is as if they had all walked into Professor X’s room and found out that he had quietly passed away in his sleep.

Even Caliban sparked more of a reaction out of Warpath than Xavier did out of a single one of his students. You would think a bit more emotion would be expected rather than everyone standing around stone faced and solemn. I mean, c’mon, they just saw their father figure and mentor get his head blown off right in front of them. That should ignite some type of emotional reaction from the various X-Men.

Now, let’s talk about the other character that got ruined with this poorly planned and executed “death”: Bishop. Let me state up front that I have never been a Bishop fan at all. I could care less if Bishop lived or died. So, my criticism on the handling of Bishop’s character isn’t based on me being a rabid fan of Bishop.

This move of making Bishop a villain didn’t work for me. Bishop has been exposed as a total nut job who is willing to kill his teammates in order to further his fanatical mission. Bishop engineered a brutal attack on the X-Mansion that led to serious injuries to his old teammates. Bishop then shows his willingness to kill both Forge and Cable in order to carry out his mission. And now we see Bishop killing off the greatest character in X-Men history.

Now, don’t misunderstand me, I love a good heel turn as much as anyone. I totally dig it when a hero turns heel. It can revive a hero who has gotten stale or has gotten stuck in a rut. But, in order to pull off a proper heel turn the writers must employ the necessary psychology that leads up to the heel turn. And that is the major flaw in Bishop’s heel turn.

Yeah, we got some hastily thrown together motivation for Bishop’s heel turn in the future plotline during the Messiah Complex. But, that is too little too late. If you are going to make a hero like Bishop morph into a hardcore villain like he was in this storyline then you had better lay the foundation and psychology for his heel turn far in advance of Messiah Complex.

There are certainly X-Men that I could easily see making a heel turn. Warpath, Gambit, Wolverine, Emma Frost and Wolfsbane. They all are characters that are written in such a style that I could easily see any of them making a heel turn. Personally, I think Wolverine is a character that is just begging to make a heel turn. At any rate, the fact remains that I never got that impression from Bishop’s character.

The decision to disband the X-Men completely failed to work for me. The reason for that is that the rational for disbanding the X-Men lacked any internal logic. Professor X is a classic martyr character. He is the man who has a dream for a better future for his people and it is his death and his dream that is supposed to inspire his followers to pick up his mantle and carry on their brave fight to make his dream a reality.

Imagine in Braveheart if after William Wallace is killed if the Scots then decided “Oh well. William is dead. And with that so is his dream for freedom for Scotland. All right, guys lets go home and have some haggis.” No. That is a wasted death of a martyr and it lacks any logic. When the martyr dies, the followers are inspired more than ever to fight even harder to make the martyr’s dream a reality.

I think it would have been a much more interesting and compelling read for Scott to assume Xavier’s heavy crown and play the role of the patriarch of the X-Men family and the Xavier Institute. We would get to see some important and quality character work with Scott’s character. And maybe Scott would get a newfound respect for the tough decisions that Xavier was forced to make while leading the X-Men.

I also found the resolution to the chase for the baby to be anti-climactic. We go through all this fighting and chasing just for Scott to hand the baby back to Cable. Yeah, I get the character work that the writers were trying to pull off with Scott in this scene, but it just made a lot of the fighting and running around to be a bit pointless. And I can’t say that I’m particularly interested in reading a comic book centered on Cable running around with this baby in tow.

And I have to hope and pray that the boys at Marvel are just playing with the reader by making this baby a female with red hair and green eyes as well as having the baby play with Scott’s locket that has the picture of Scott with Jean. I swear that this baby had better not turn out to be Jean Grey reincarnated. For the love of god, just let the woman stay dead already!

Bachalo’s art was just atrocious. I had absolutely no idea what the hell was going on most of the time. The action scenes look like a box of crayons puked all over the page. The decision to end Messiah Complex with Bachalo was a terrible one.

Overall: Personally, I found X-Men #207 to be a bit of a disappointing ending to the Messiah Complex. This was a wild ride of a story arc that simply ended with a thud. I’m sure plenty of X-fans will be completely excited with this new direction for the X-Men franchise. This ending to Messiah Complex certainly delivers on the promise to shake up the X-Men franchise. I’m just not too sure if it is for the better. At any rate, I’ll keep an open mind and hope for the best with this new direction for the X-Men.

Next month X-Men transforms into X-Men: Legacy which is centered around Xavier and his examination of the past and how he has impacted the various characters from the X-Men franchise. I will admit that this title has plenty of potential to be an intriguing read. It should be interesting to see Xavier interacting with the various villains and heroes from the X-Men franchise. And X-Men: Legacy should also provide for plenty of character growth for Xavier.

Uncanny X-Men deals with the disbanding of the Xavier Institute. Since Iron Man makes an appearance in the upcoming issue then I would imagine that the X-Men are going to become a part of the government’s group of registered heroes. Since there is pretty much nothing about the Registration Act that even remotely interests me, I cannot say that I am particularly enthused with the direction of this title.

I think that X-Force will probably be short on depth, but certainly should make up for it with plenty of quality excitement and action. I’ll certainly give this title a try.

The other title that spins out of the Messiah Complex is Cable’s title. Like I said before, the writers simply didn’t do enough with the baby to get me interested in adding this title to my pull list. I have never been a big fan of Cable and adding a baby to his title doesn’t do anything for me.

5 thoughts on “Messiah Complex: X-Men #207 Review

  1. I thought it was a pretty solid conclusion, but the final moments could have been better-handled; now, according to Carey’s interviews, what happens is that Xavier is comatose, and his body disappears in the final panel because Exodus and the Acolytes swipe it, but it’s not especially well-communicated, and a lot of people thought it was an artist’s mistake at first.

    Anyway, as a whole I think the event was a big success. As a launch for the new direction, it’s given the various books distinct identities, and I get the sense that the franchise is heading somewhere definite, rather than struggling like they did post-M-Day. They even got me half-interested in reading a Cable series, which I wouldn’t have thought possible; I’ll probably pass on that, though; Legacy (big Professor X fan), Uncanny (with Mike Choi on art now), X-Factor, and X-Force are enough (plus Astonishing, the series that seldom comes out).

  2. Ok, 95% of the time, i completely agree with your reviews of any title. The 5 percent that is missing has always corresponded with carey and bachalos x-men. I think that careys run on x-men has been nothing but fantastic. I think that the adjectiveless title since issue 190 or whenever carey took over has been the best title marvel has been putting out (with the only exeptions being Cap, Iron Fist, Powers, Daredevil and X-factor) Dont get me wrong, i think that brubaker is definately a better writer than carey, so is david. But that doesnt take away from the quality work that carey has done on the adjectiveless title. And you are probably right in saying that ending the crossover with David writing probably would have been a better idea. I dissagree with the notion of brubaker writing the final issue, brubakers uncanny has, in my opinion been the weakest x-title pre-crossover. rise and fall underpreformed and the extremists storyline wasnt especially compelling either. I think that the ending to the crossover was well done and i dug the massive melee between the marauders, the x-men and predator x.(although you are right about x being a waste of space) When you said that none of the characters were shown in character exept for scott, i think that when x-23 was worried about logan when he jumped into the beast showed alot, she was worried for the only father figure she has ever had. as well as the line emma had about enjoying exodus’ demise was perfect. The characterisation on many characters was spot on. rogue, gambit, cable, mystique, dust, malice.
    And when it comes to bachalos art, i agree that its hard to figure out whats going on at times but for the most part i rather enjoy it, i like the exaggerated feel to his art, and although he doesnt do massive battles very well, i think he should have been on new x-men from the decimation onward, that guy does a great pixie/rockslide/x-23, etc. In any case, i am not one of those people who think that bachalos art is the greatest, it certainly isnt, but he definately deserves more than a two, at least a six is in order.
    when it comes to the future of the x-men franchise, i am excited for pretty much all of the titles. I am a huge new x-mem fan and the only title i would say i am not looking forward to is Young X-men. I think that new x-men should have continued with the same creative team and just been about what the were doing on their own. like runaways or new avengers, just about them operating in secret. As for the Cable series, i think that the idea of cable being a man on the run, through time with bishop on his tail is an excellent idea. it should play out like a good western. a la the good the bad and the ugly, where the baby is the gold, and three (in this case two) are after it and willing to do anything to get it. Or like 3:10 to yuma, a father trying to do right by his son (daughter) while trying to evade the pursuit of a mercenary who will pursue him till the end of time. pumped for that miniseries, plus choi’s art on uncanny. X-factor should be ridiculous good after the shakeup too.

  3. Please, Lord, let Professor X be dead. With BND, the lame ending of WWH, Civil War’s ending, I’m looking for some status quo change that will let at least a few marvel characters move on. Though I thought it was a decent event, I still think that the ending was flat.

  4. Don’t you think that X-Force will at least be action packed enough to warrant the occasional read? I really enjoyed Messiah Complex, but I don’t think it will be enough for me to pick up Uncanny on a regular basis, but we’ll see.

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