X-MEN: DIE BY THE SWORD 1
Writer: Chris Claremont
Pencils: Juan Santacruz
Inker: Raul Fernandez
Colorist: Rob Ro
The surest way to give me a headache while reading a comic book? Without a doubt: time travel. The only time it was done really well and explained clearly was in The Incredible Hulk: Future Imperfect, in the capable hands of Peter David. No, this book doesn’t have any of that, but if jumping around the space/time continuom is headache 1, then multiple universes is 1a. And this limited series is just packed to the gills with ’em (geez, didn’t anyone learn anything from “Crisis on Infinite Earths”? That was only done, what – 70 or 80 years ago?)
Here, we see a team-up of Excaliber (celebrating their recent victory over Albion), and The Exiles: an interesting mix, if for nothing else than the Omniverse duties of Captain Britain, and the multiple universes and character possibilities covered by the Exiles. Plus, there’s a touching reunion between Nocturne and Thunderbird, which I’m sure… well, someone’s been waiting a while for now, probably.
It’s an interesting set-up, but a bit disjointed, since it’s difficult to determine exactly who and what the threats are to both groups. Both the strengths and faults of Chris Claremont are on display here: original plots, tons of interaction, somewhat trite dialogue, and sub-plots springing up in a few thousand directions with seemingly little to tie them together (at least, for now). It’s a bit frustrating, since I get the feeling he’s enjoying this, and he seems to have a grand plan for everything. And I know for a fact that the artist had an absolute blast with the introduction of James Jaspers, who wears a different outfit in every single frame, all of them gaudy and eye-catching. The various headgear is especially a treat.
Rating: 6 out of 10