North Korea reportedly has missiles that can strike the mainland U.S. and all of your favorite celebrities are actually horrible sex monsters. But–BUT–the X-Men Blue we all came to love is back! Everybody, I think we’re going to be alright. Writer Cullen Bunn will help us through these troubled times.
Speaking of troubled times–the situation is just as dire in the X-Men’s world, as our favorite supporting cast members are vanishing from reality, while the news reports true alternative facts (Magneto and the Brotherhood didn’t perish in their first battle with the X-Men – FAKE NEWS!).
X-Men Blue #16 kicks off the series’ latest arc, “Cross Time Capers,” which it’s actually been teasing since its very first issues. Perhaps that’s what I enjoyed so much about this issue, after the patience-testing X-Men Gold crossover that ran a few issues too long. At its core, X-Men Blue is a series that masterfully captures that classic soap opera feel from the Chris Claremont days and marries it to modern storytelling. Bunn has had several subplots cooking in his creative kitchen, and it’s just so satisfying to see them all coming to a boil.
In this issue, there are no ties to larger Marvel events or appearances from characters starring in other series. It’s just the main X-Men Blue cast, which means there’s plenty of time for character development.Cyclops, Marvel Girl and Beast receive the most action this week. Scott and Jean continue to stumble through days in which they can hear each other’s thoughts, and it’s pushing Slim closer to Bloodstorm, the vampire version of Storm from an alternate reality (more on that in a second). Jean, meanwhile, is keeping an eye on Hank following his dangerous flirtation with the mystic arts. And Beast, of course, continues to be a passive-aggressive jerk toward his ex, Jean.
Now, this whole Cyclops-Bloodstorm thing… it’s a bit sudden. A few issues back, Scott and Jean were about to kiss before getting distracted with the X-Men’s battle of the week. Why have we not followed up on that romantic moment? Why is Cyke back in moping mode and suddenly so open to hanging with Bloodstorm? Between this and the Jean-Jimmy Hudson stuff, it’s like Bunn is giving us a little too much teenage relationship drama. Give us some quiet moments of happiness too!
One other nitpick–the final page of this issue is great. While I never really grew attached to the characters featured in this cliffhanger, it brought me back to my younger years… and isn’t that what Marvel Legacy is all about? BUT… I also saw the last page coming due to those pesky advance solicitations. So, you know, note to Marvel–know when to hold back those covers so readers can truly enjoy those last-page reveals.
Back to the positive stuff: Artist Thony Silas turns in some killer pencils here. Comic fans who grew up reading in the ’90s will know what I mean when I say Silas’ art has a real “animated” look and feel to it. There are some sleek and dynamic visuals on display throughout this issue, and Jean’s hair (which can look different from one artist to another) looks great! Magneto’s hair is looking pretty nice too. Heck, everyone has great hair this week! Hairs to you, Thony!
So, like the [maybe?] evil Professor X at the center of this comic’s cover, I’m calling all X-Men Blue fans who may have been turned off by the recent Mojo-centric crossover–it’s safe to come home.
“To me, my X-Men Blue fans!”