The Long and The Short of It: Civil War: X-Men, Part 4 of 4 (The Supposedly Sunday Review)

Civil War: X-Men, Part 4 of 4
Writer: David Hine
Penciller: Yanick Paquette
Inker: Serge LaPointe
Colourist: Stephane Peru
Letterer: VC’s Russ Wooton

The Long of It

This could’ve been such an interesting read. It could’ve been fun. The way it started, you’d got the four remaining original X-Men (Cyclops, Beast, Angel & Iceman) rebelling against their instructions not to get involved in the Civil War, and to leave the pursuit of the fleeing 198 to Bishop’s squad of pro-registration mutants and S.H.I.E.L.D. operatives. X-Men against X-Men. A microcosm of what Civil War is about. And a chance for the original X-Men to be significant again. And if that basis of a story wasn’t enough, it was being written by David Hine, who’d been proving consistently recently that he could tell a tale of intrigue really well over the span of a mini-series of this sort of length.

So what happened? I have to ask, because this was, well”¦ meh.

Don’t get me wrong here, there’s not much about this book that’s intrinsically bad, but it’s just failed to have any teeth whatsoever, unlike some of the other excellent CW crossovers.

I do have problems with the book (and indeed the entire mini-series) though.

There are small; but fundamental; problems that just irk me (and I really don’t like being irked), like “why is Caliban so comfortable working in the 198 alongside Arclight and Scalphunter who, as part of the Marauders, massacred most of his fellow Morlocks?”. There are problems with this that actually just amuse me, like long-time X-villain Toad being portrayed as a far more sympathetic character than X-family member Shatterstar. I always thought Shatterstar was a crappy character anyway so that’s something I actually quite like, but at the end of the day Shattypants is supposed to be one of the good guys and Toad isn’t. You’d never guess that from reading this book.

General Lazer is the X-Men’s very own Hooded Claw.

There’s problems with the plot, which is basically as thin as one of Mr Creosote’s “waffer-thin” mints. It consists of the big, bad, twirly-moustache-type villain locking the 198 in a secret bunker that’s going to explode until they can be rescued by the heroes. It’s the super-powered equivalent of tying a damsel to a train track. Seriously, General Lazer is the X-Men’s very own Hooded Claw. “I’ll get you Domino Pitstop.”

I could hear the majestic strains of the fly-past music from Top Gun in the background.

And all this comes to a head with one of the cheesiest moments ever. The final triumphant shot with everyone standing together on a rock and “When it really counted, we stood together.” leering over them as a sort of criminally naff epitaph. I nearly lost my Chicken McTesticles dinner when I read that. I could actually hear the majestic strains of the fly-past music from Top Gun in the background.

It’s not about the four original X-Men at all. It’s Scott Summers and The Summerettes.

And then there’s the biggest problem I have with this series. It’s not about the four original X-Men at all. It’s Scott Summers and The Summerettes. There’s even a scene in which Cyclops tells the others “That’s why you’re leaving. There’s nothing for you to do here.” But do they leave? Of course not. They’re a team. They’re staying. And why, I hear you ask? (I have microphones in your bedrooms and in your offices at work, so be afraid). Why do they stay? Umm”¦. nope. Ya got me. Because Hank, Bobby and Warren did absolutely nothing in this book. Scott did stuff. Bishop did stuff. Even Iron Man, Ms.Marvel and the Sentinels did stuff. But for three of the stalwarts of Xavie’s School? Absolutely bugger all. If Lazer is the Hooded Claw, then these three are the Anthill Mob.

And that’s the problem with these characters now. They have no real place in the Marvel Universe. They’ve been marginalised. Bobby’s the least dangerous and important member of his X-squad, ditto for Hank, and Warren doesn’t even have a place on a team. Being a part of the X-Men has basically made these four into back-up characters. And the only way it’s going to change is if they all leave Xavie’s. Get Hank back onto the Avengers to hang out with his friend Simon Williams. Give Warren back the metal wings and send him off to re-start a Defenders outfit, and have Bobby join the new post-CW Fantastic Four. Just get them the hell away from Scott Summers.

But like I said, it’s not really that bad. Just weak. Some of the dialogue is nice. The art by Yanick Paquette and Serge LaPointe is “¦ well, it’s OK. It’s got the right tone for the book, and isn’t in any way offensive (even if Beast looks more like a bear than a cat in some panels), but it isn’t in any way special either.

This is the diet coke of Civil War crossovers, and that’s the problem.

The Short of It

I expected better of Hine. I really did. This was weak in so many areas, but without ever really sinking into the realms of absolute shite. It’s readable, but it’s also forgettable.

Grade: C I can’t even be bothered to add anything at this point. If they didn’t bother to add anything special to the book, why should I do so to this review?