Reviewer: Jesse Baker
Story Title: Defection: Part 1
Written by: Frank Tieri
Penciled by: Jeff Johnson
Inked by: Doug Hillsman
Colored by: Color Dojo
Lettered by: Dave Sharpe
Editor: Mike Marts
Publisher: Marvel Comics
I hate Chamber. He was one of the main reasons why I never liked Generation X, due to the fact that Jono and his equally worthless teammate Skin were allowed to monopolize the book nonstop with their unrelatable “poor, poor, pitiful me” angst. Not to mention the way various writers treated Husk (one of the few interesting members of Gen X) as nothing more than a mindless prop for Chamber to angst over. Yet for some strange reason, Marvel likes the character and keeps pushing him as the next big thing in the X-Men. Now Chamber is in Weapon X as part of the big “Defection” story, which was hyped for months over the fact that an active member oft the X-Men would join the evil Weapon X team. Luckily for us readers, we were at least given a motive for Chamber being the traitor â€” him still being an X-Man and jumping ship because his girlfriend Husk was beginning a relationship with her teammate Angel.
The issue starts with a little bit of “Exposition Dream Theater” as we relive the events where Chamber’s power activated and took out his lower jaw, voice box, and his chest. Chamber wakes up and goes to the mirror and admires the job the Weapon X guys did in restoring his humanity in the mirror. The only trace of weirdness is the glowing yellow disc in his chest. Chamber is interrupted by Agent Jackson, who decides to bring Chamber into the inner-sanctum of the Weapon X project to get started in his work. As Chamber gets the grand tour, Jackson gives a pointless speech about how bright and happy the place is. We get a double-page spread of the main control room (complete with images from New X-Men #150 on the view screen).
Chamber flirts with one of the girls working in the main room as we learn that Jackson has disbanded the entire Weapon X team save for Agent Zero, who is the only guy still out in the field (hunting down portions of Cable’s “Underground” organization. We find that Wildchild and Sauron have been given cushy new jobs as a result of them siding with Jackson in his coup. Wildchild is running security while Sauron is working under Dr. Windsor. It also seems that Sauron has dropped the idiot routine as he harmlessly absorbs some of Chamber’s lifeforce and morphs from human mode to his more familiar Sauron form. We also get our token reference to Mr. Sinister being Dr. Windsor by way of Chamber telling Jackson that Windsor freaks him out, despite Windsor DOING NOTHING TO EVEN REMOTELY APPEAR WEIRD….
We cut to a local restaurant as Jackson and Chamber eat and we get more worthless exposition. Jackson calls Wolverine a pussy, there are no mutant concentration camps, we’re just a normal black-ops government organization, and Chamber quit the X-Men over Husk having sex with Angel every hour, on the hour. Jackson, ever the shit-disturber, starts bad-mouthing Husk by calling her worthless trailer trash when Chamber goes ape-shit and tries to hit Jackson. Jackson recants and tells Chamber he was just testing him.
Jackson finally cuts to the chase and gives Chamber his first assignment. His mission is to hunt down and assassinate New X-Men villain and U-Men leader John Sublime. Chamber freezes when he hears this and asks that he be given some time to prepare himself for his mission. Jackson agrees, but while Chamber leaves the restaurant Wolverine watches from the shadows.
Overall this was a boring issue. The book is in sorry-ass shape at the moment; the Weapon X team is virtually non-existent with the way Marrow, Sabretooth, Mesmero, Madison Jeffries, and Aurora all jumped ship at the end of “The Underground” arc. The current dynamic sucks just as well since Jackson is a worthless character whose “shit-disturber” personality is poorly written to the point that I don’t care about him. Chamber’s defection has potential but if they really wanted to make it worthwhile, why not make his mission be “kill Angel” instead of “kill John Sublime”? It would make the betrayal of Chamber be more serious and give closure towards the whole “Angel/Husk/Chamber” love triangle as well.
And speaking of John Sublime, it’s looking like Tieri is being given the job of making sense out of Grant Morrison’s numerous and sometimes nonsensical revelations about the Weapon X project and it being part of a much larger program called the “Weapon Plus” project.