Mystique #23 Review

Reviewer: James Hatton
Story Title: N/A

Written by: Sean McKeever
Penciled by: Manuel Garcia
Inked by: Raul Fernandez
Colored by: Digital Rainbow
Lettered by: VC’s Chrisdy Gentopoulos
((Note: VC also has Chris Eliopoulous.. I’m not sure if this is a typo or it’s just a lot of Greek folks over at Virtual Calligraphy))
Cover Art by: Mike Mayhew
Editor: Mike Marts
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Sean McKeever, what have you wrought. First you’ve given us our anti-hero, the mutant extremist Raven Darkholm, better known to the freedom fighting world as Mystique. Why is she an anti-hero? Because for the last twenty years, we’ve seen Mystique as the classic antithesis of Xavier’s dream. She isn’t Magneto who has an idyllic view of mutant/humans relationship (ideal for mutants) – Mystique just feels that humanity is a plague. If you stop the humans, you stop the spread.

Well now she’s been coerced into working for Xavier, the man who represents the ‘fantasy’ of mutant/human relations. Peaceful coexistance. What happens when their worlds collide? That’s what Mystique is about.

At least.. it was.

STORY!

Mystique must kill Xavier for her freedom. Given the alternative between being free, or a slave to Xavier’s machinations – Raven chose freedom, and the mission that will give her what she yearns for is to kill the man she works for. Along the way, she’s killed Fantomex (remember him, don’t worry if you don’t), and has been outted as a threat. Once outted her protection from Xavier ends, and she is now being hunted by Homeland Security! What the life a heartless wench must lead, right?

In this issue, she fails at her mission, Xavier is alive. In lieu of getting captured, Raven bails and heads back to the place she knows, her apartment in Brooklyn, New York – why? Keep reading. She goes back to her pad and sitting there is Wolverine and Rogue.. waiting. In the first great Rogue moment I’ve seen in months upon months, she takes Wolverine’s powers and has it out with Mystique all on her own – culminating in the reason Mystique came back home in the first place. BOOM! It seems Raven’s not sure she wants her apartment looked into.. in a great moment we see a photo of Destiny, Mystique’s friend and often suggested lover, burn and melt away as Mystique crashes to the earth.

By the end of the issue – let it be knownst, everyone is after her. The Quiet Man (the man behind the plot to kill Xavier), Shepard (his henchman and boyfriend), the X-Men, Xavier, Forge, and the Boston Celtics. (One of those is a lie)

Now, how was the book. Tight. I say that because McKeever is obviously trying to shove every pertinant moment into the book as it comes to it’s climactic end. So yes, the writing suffers – but I feel that’s Marvel’s fault for canceling the damn book, and not McKeever’s for trying to make sure you get a complete narrative.

Art!

I’ve been a fan of the art overall on this story – but this issue it just seems like Garcia was rushed. The face work on everyone except Mystique herself just seems flawed. Sometimes it’s too liney, sometimes it’s not liney enough. It’s a nitpicking detail, because his page layouts are excellent. The aforementioned apartment explosion is a gorgeous scene, and worth the price of admission alone.

Overall!

McKeever, if I was him, I would be glancing towards the exits as everything he touches, Marvel craps on. Mystique and Sentinel both dead within two years of their inception. Mary Jane dead by issue four. The only thing that keeps him alive is what we fans know – he can write a comic book well. He can make you care about these characters and want to read more… and the recent cry for Mary Jane and a rumored second run on Sentinel has proven that. Mystique is his spy thriller, and a damn fine one at that, I’m excited to see what he’s going to give me, but sad to see it go.

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