The X-Men have been hit hard throughout Fall of X. Driven underground we haven’t really seen the X-Men operating as a team. The series has largely been a bunch of solo or duo adventures. That isn’t changing much with X-Men #29 though we are at least getting a trio in Wolverine, Shadowcat, and Ms. Marvel teaming up. Though this team-up isn’t coming in the best circumstances as they will be dealing with Doctor Doom’s personal X-Men team. How will this go? Let’s find out with X-Men #29.
Writer: Gerry Duggan
Artist: Joshua Cassara
Colorist: Marte Gracia
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
“DOOM’S X-MEN! That’s right – Doctor Doom has his very own team of Latverian mutants, loyal to the benevolent leader that keeps their country safe, and they make their spectacular debut in this issue! The X-Men may be in the midst of a fall… but they’re not letting Doom’s personal squad take their title without a fight!” – Marvel Comics
More than just about any comic in the Fall of X direction X-Men #29 the best post-mortem of everything Charles Xavier tried to build with Krakoa and was force to burn down of Orchis. And it all comes thanks Doctor Doom. If that would’ve been the complete focus of X-Men #29 it would continued the consistency of this series has had throughout this run. Unfortunately, Gerry Duggan delivers an ending that reminds us of the biggest problem this series has had during Fall of X.
Staying on the positive, Duggan did all he could to get us to buy into Doctor Doom forming the X-Men of Latveria. To Duggan’s credit he sold us on this concept. Duggan kicking tis off to the whole start of the Krakoa era by expanding on Charles Xavier and Doctor Doom’s private conversation during the announcement was a great tone setter. This private conversation gives greater depth to previous Doctor Doom appearances where he made his dislike of Krakoa known every chance he had.
What made this all work was that like a good heel wrestling character Doctor Doom played the villain role by speaking nothing but the truth. For as much as Xavier has acted like a King of Krakoa there are key aspects to Xavier’s moral compass he couldn’t ignore. It caused moments where we saw Xavier be hit with indecision that others force his hand. This is something Doctor Doom told Xavier would end up happening because of his core character has never thrived in the role he took on for Krakoa.
With that established during the opening of X-Men #29 it made Doctor Doom’s recruiting mutants to Latveria work. This development connects back to the Fantastic Four/X-Men mini-series where we saw Doctor Doom’s failure with this. Doctor Doom is not someone to let a failure last. Which we see with how he takes a different approach in using the way he found each member of his X-Men to train them in a way they’ll be loyal to him.
That approach made it so that there was no other result that Wolverine, Shadowcat, and Ms. Marvel were set-up to fail. Nothing they said would turn Doctor Doom’s X-Men against him, especially after what happened to Krakoa. There was no actual argument that these mutants would be better off with Wolverine’s team. Which made it understandable that Wolverine, Shadowcat, and Ms. Marvel would have to leave understanding they can’t do anything against Doctor Doom right now.
While all of this was good the ending brought everything to a screeching halt with the ending. Wolverine, Shadowcat, and Ms. Marvel discovering the underground X-Men base in a bloody mess was a reminder that Duggan has done nothing with Synch and Talon. This is an ending that we should care about but the fact is even in their leadership position Synch and Talon have been background characters at best during Fall of X. There hasn’t been a reason to care for what they’ve been up to. It is the biggest failure of Duggan’s portion of Fall of X, even after this X-Men run previously did a lot to build up Synch.
Joshua Cassara artwork was just fine in X-Men #29. This issue honestly appeared rushed compared to Cassara’s previous work on the series. When the action was going off the art was great. Though when there were down moments or heavy conversation scenes the art just looked like it was rushed out the door.
X-Men #29 had every element to be a successful chapter in the Fall of X direction. Unfortunately the positives done with how Doctor Doom’s X-Men were put over is undone by a terrible ending. All that we can hope for is the next issue provides context to this ending and we get proper development for the underutilized X-Men.
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10