The Revolution has every X-Men comic going back to the 1960s. This is probably the only reason why we continue to buy this comic. A feeling of commitment since we have invested so much time and effort in our collection of this title. Remember back when X-Men was actually the best comic out there? Man, it has been a long time since that was the case. Let’s hit the review for X-Men #184
Writer: Peter Milligan
Penciler & Inker: Salvador Larocca
Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 5.
Synopsis: The issue starts with Sunfire, now a Horseman of Apocalypse being knocked out by the X-Men and taken into their custody.
We then shift to Apocalypse talking to his assistant Ozymandias. Ozymandias questions if Apocalypse was turning soft. Apocalypse responds by smashing Ozymandias into a wall.
We then go back to the X-Men who are trying to see if Pulse can get close enough to Apocalypse to try and drain away his powers. Unfortunately, Pulse is a coward and doesn’t know if he can do it.
Back at Apocalypse’s HQ, we see Ozymandias talking with the newest Horseman, War, who used to be Gazer. Ozymandias asks War to repay his debt to Ozymandias for saving Gazer’s life a couple of issues ago. War declines to overthrow Apocalypse for Ozymandias who then begs War not to tell Apocalypse about their conversation.
We got back to the X-Men and Ozymandias appears offering to sneak them into Apocalypse’s HQ in order to defeat him. We then go back to War telling Apocalypse about Ozymandias’ plan to overthrow him.
We then go back to Ozymandias sneaking the X-Men into Apocalypse’s HQ. He leads them right to Apocalypse in his main chamber. Some of the ex-students at Xavier’s school who have switched sides to Apocalypse stand between the X-Men and their new master. Then the issue ends with Apocalypse unveiling his newest Horseman, Death, who is none other than Gambit!
The Good: Peter Milligan has been getting better and better with each issue on the X-Men. Now, the Revolution isn’t saying this is some of the best X-Men comics ever, but Milligan is at least improving from a rather unimpressive start on the X-Men. The Apocalypse storyline has been fairly interesting.
I love the return of Sunfire as one of the Horseman. And, the Revolution absolutely loves the unveiling of Gambit as the Horseman Death. Gambit is a character that the Revolution has never found to be interesting at all. Now that Gambit has switched sides and been re-made into a Horseman, I find him to be a much more interesting character. This ending is what pushed this issue’s ranking from 3 Night Girls up to 4 Night Girls. This is a great storyline and I’m interested to see where Milligan goes with this.
The art is absolutely wonderful. The Revolution loves Salvador Larocca’s art. He is a talented artist that gives the X-Men a beautiful look. Larocca’s art alone makes this an entertaining comic book to read.
The Bad: Milligan is a talented writer, but I don’t think that the X-Men is a title that best suits him. Ever since he has started his run on the X-Men, this title has just sort of meandered all around the place without a cohesive vision, direction or purpose. It feels like we are just hopping around between an odd mix of stories.
First, we concentrate on the Sentinels being at Xavier’s School, then we focus on Polaris and spend a lot of time with her and some alien force that she is communicating with and then we pop Apocalypse into the picture without any sense of importance or grandeur. It seems like Apocalypse is also without direction. This doesn’t feel like a big important storyline.
Overall, Milligan has failed to establish any prime story arcs supported by various mini-story arcs. The problem with the X-Men is that you can trot out any tired story and the issue will sell just because it says X-Men on the cover. I think that makes Marvel complacent when it comes to this title.
The X-Men desperately need a unique vision with a main long term plotline supported by several smaller arcs along the way. Much like what Brubaker has done during his 16 issue run on Captain America. The X-Men just don’t have it. The X-Men may always rank high on the monthly sales lists, but don’t be fooled. That is on the name along, because X-Men is most definitely not one of the top comics in terms of actual quality.