The massively hyped Messiah Complex officially kicks off with X-Men Messiah Complex One Shot. Thankfully, Brubaker was tapped to handle the debut issue of this big event rather than Carey. We also get to see Mark Silvestri drawing the X-Men which is always enjoyable. Let’s do this review.
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Pencils: Mark Silvestri
Inks: Joes Weems & Marco Galli
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with Cyclops, Emma, Wolverine, Nightcrawler and Angel in the Blackbird headed to the small town of Cooperstown, Alaska. Emma tells the X-Men that she is not picking up any thoughts from the town that they are headed to. Wolverine says that means this might be a trap. That either there are no people in the town or a device is being used to block Emma’s powers. Emma retorts that a third possibility is that everyone is dead.
The X-Men arrive at a town that is engulfed in flames. Emma says that she is picking up some thoughts from some of the townspeople. That they are all terrified. The X-Men then begin to search the flaming town for survivors.
We slide back to several hours earlier with Beast and Professor X in the Cerebra room. Professor X searches for all the mutants on the Earth. Professor X comments how he used to find so many mutants when he searched the Earth. Now he finds just a few and the numbers dwindle with each day. Professor X tells Beast that he used to love using Cerebra and now he just dreads it.
Suddenly, Professor X clutches his head and screams in pain. Professor X’s nose starts to bleed. Professor X removes the Cerebra helmet and smiles. Professor X then contacts Scott and Emma and tells them to gather the X-Men immediately.
We cut back to the present in Cooperstown, Alaska. The X-Men are busy rescuing any survivors that they can find. Emma and Scott talk about maybe the manifestation of the powers of the mutant that Professor X located caused all this damage. Wolverine disagrees and says it was a battle. That Wolverine has found the dead body of Blockbuster who is a member of the Marauders. Nightcrawler then tells the X-Men that he has found the dead bodies of some Purifiers. The X-Men then find the dead body of another Marauder: Prism. Wolverine says that the battle just took place thirty minutes ago.
Emma then realizes that there are no children among the survivors. Emma says that this was a massacre. Suddenly, a woman comes walking up to them holding her dead child’s burned body. Emma reads the woman’s mind. Evidently, the Purifiers showed up at the town and had orders to kill only the children. The Marauders then showed up and fought the Purifiers.
Emma then tells the X-Men that the children were just collateral damage to the Purifiers. Emma tells Angel to search for a hospital. Angel finds the local hospital. Emma tells Angel to search for the epicenter of the damage. Angel arrives in the maternity ward of the hospital. Emma tells the X-Men that this wasn’t a case of a teenage manifestation of mutant powers. That this was a mutant birth. That the Purifiers killed all the babies in the hospital in case one was a mutant.
The rest of the X-Men arrive at the maternity ward of the hospital. Emma notes that there were three babies born last night, yet there are only corpses to two newborns present. Emma says that the mutant baby was what Professor X picked up with Cerebra. That the Marauders and the Purifiers were both on a path to the hospital. Unfortunately, the X-Men don’t know if the Marauders ended up with the mutant baby or if the Purifiers did.
The X-Men get back into the Blackbird and head back to the X-Mansion. Cyclops says that the mutant baby is so powerful that its birth knocked out Cerebra. That all hell is breaking loose and it is bad that both the Marauders and the Purifiers knew about this mutant baby before the X-Men did.
We then see the Predator X appear at the ruins of Cooperstown. The Predator X is hungry and is looking for mutants to eat. That Predator X felt the arrival of a new mutant that nearly staggered it. And that the scent is now leading elsewhere. End of issue.
The Good: X-Men Messiah Complex One Shot was a solid read. Now, it must be kept in mind that I do my best to avoid spoilers. I don’t visit comic book related message boards and when I do visit comic book news sites, I try to stick to articles that don’t spoil future story arcs. So, because I didn’t know what was coming, I found this issue to be a decent set up issue.
Brubaker did a nice job of laying the foundation for this monster story arc. All the various players are slid into place. We have the Marauders, the Purifiers and the X-Men in a huge three-way fight. And then throw Predator X into the mix as the wildcard. That is a recipe for an exciting story arc. And Brubaker is giving us the two classic types of X-Men villains: evil mutants and anti-mutant humans.
Brubaker accomplished the two main purposes of a set up issue. He used this one-shot issue to lay a solid foundation for the rest of the story arc that weaves through the various X-titles. And, more importantly, he got me excited about this story arc. Hooking the reader’s attention and creating a sense of enthusiasm is critical in order to properly launch a monster story arc like Messiah Complex.
I dig the core concept of this story arc surrounding the first mutant birth since M-Day. The mutant population has taken an incredible beating since M-Day. It is cool to think that somehow a mutant was born despite the seemingly all-powerful Scarlet Witch’s desire to eliminate mutants from Earth.
It is definitely nice to finally see Marvel actually acting like they care about House of M and Decimation. Marvel completely ignored this big event the minute House of M was over. Yeah, we got some Decimation issues, but they were half-hearted and average at best. Marvel was too busy getting ready to move on with Civil War. I certainly feel that Marvel did the House of M and Decimation story a real disservice by largely ignoring it since House of M ended.
It is time that Marvel addresses the mutant problem in the 616 Universe. I’m curious to see if Marvel keeps the mutant population extremely small, if they ramp it up to the ridiculous numbers that the mutant population had prior to House of M or if they go somewhere in between.
The art in this issue was fantastic. It was wonderful to see Silvestri drawing the X-Men once again. And Silvestri draws one insanely hot White Queen. Silvestri gives this issue tons of energy despite not much actually happening in the story. I found the artwork to this issue to be more entertaining than the actual story.
The Bad: If you checked out the spoilers on all the various comic book websites and message boards and you already knew what Messiah Complex was all about then I can see where this issue would have been an unimpressive and boring read. If I had prior knowledge of all the various players and the birth of the first mutant since M-Day then I would have viewed this issue as little more than filler.
And even though I didn’t know what was going to happen in this issue, I still found it to be a pretty thin read. I know this is a set-up issue, but that doesn’t mean that it has to be so shallow and slow. Not much happens in this issue and I seemed to blow through this issue incredibly fast since the story lacked any real meat.
I found Brubaker’s dialogue to be surprisingly ordinary. This was some of the weakest dialogue I have read from Brubaker in a very long time. None of the characters displayed much personality and the dialogue lacked any flow. The dialogue just read generically as it seemed that Brubaker really rushed to pump out this issue in order to kick off the Messiah Complex story arc. This was not the intricate and well crafted dialogue that Brubaker normally serves up to the reader.
And to top it all off, Marvel gave the reader the privilege of paying $3.99 for a regular sized issue. Oh yeah, I know we got a few “bonus” pages of pin-up art on each of the players in this story arc along with a bit of narrative from Cyclops explaining the background of each of the players in this story arc. Yippee. This was an incredibly lame and money grabbing move even for a company like Marvel. Ooh I get to pay a dollar more for a regular sized issue that is nothing more than pure set up! Oh wait, I forgot. The words “X-Men” appear on the cover which means you can charge more for the book on that basis alone.
Overall: X-Men Messiah Complex One Shot was a typical set-up issue. I probably enjoyed this issue more than readers who had already read the spoilers for the Messiah Complex story. Let’s get to the heart of the matter. The real question is if X-Men Messiah Complex One Short is worth your hard earned money. Given the fact that not much happens that hasn’t already been covered in all the spoilers and the fact that this issue is a dollar more than regular cover price I’d recommend not wasting your money on X-Men Messiah Complex One Shot. Only X-Men completists should bother to spend their money getting this issue.