After waiting just about a month and some change for my local comic shop to have this issue in stock, I finally have my hands on it. I refused to spoil myself by reading numbers 8 and 9 solely because I wouldn’t pay 15 whole smackeroos to buy a variant cover that is definitely not as cool as the normal ass 3.99 a pop issue. A moment of silence for my giant sigh of relief, since this issue did not hold up to that of it’s predecessors.
Issue #6 left us with Seven Hells of a cliffhanger. To recap? Reverend William Stryker was publicly executing mutants in the city square, Rogue gained the team’s trust minus Kitty, who is lolling around in a sea of great despair and greater inactivity after losing Peter, only to be found double-crossing her friends to be “healed” by the newly revealed mutant-face Reverend himself – you know, since his mutant powers are the ability to control technology and the X-gene was just revealed to the entire population to be a bio-engineered virus. So our comPadre is then conveniently annihilated by the Cerebra-linked Nimrods dispatched by President Fuckwad at Pietro’s persuasion, and since our favorite Shepherd can control tech, the Reverend’s dying wish has been taken up by the Sentinels as they creepily chant, “But thine be done.” Oh what tangled webs we weave when Peter Parker is smooshed. Too soon for a Spidey joke? At least not all hope is lost, for in an errily familiar church like setting, we spy Rogue having a conversation with a dapper bald gent who, via Cliche Cliffhanger Central, is revealed to be none other than the previously thought dead and telepathic legend himself, Charles Xavier! Follow all that? Good, neither did I. Hit the jump to continue the review!
At first glance, the cover art by Kaare Andrews gives us our first look at what is presumably the Scarlet Witch. With Pietro’s escape looming in the air, Wanda’s appearance gives way to apprehension as we wonder what team she will step up to the plate for in this universe. Though instinct tells me with her Daddy Issues lookalike brother is probably where to place my money. While the cover is amazing in that smoulder-y sexy way, it didn’t draw me in the way the previous issues did, though it was leaps and bounds better than the variant cover which holds no kind of visual continuity to the rest of the arc.
The bulk of the issue follows Pietro, racing to an unknown destination, while Wanda narrates the scene from inside his mind and does what any other loving sister would do when her impulsive brother’s actions go horribly wrong. Rub it in his face. The first few pages had me assuming that Wanda was telepathically projecting these image to Pietro of mutants in hiding being hunted and killed by the Nimrod Sentinels as he races to find and confront her. Bursting in and overturning an entire apartment while screaming for his sister to answer for her assumed deception of him, Wanda’s reveal was not what I expected. Firstly, let me say, HOLY SHIT BOOBS. Carlo Barberi certainly took some liberties with the female form, which is quite a shock coming from the previous artist Paco Medina’s more normally proportioned ladies. Never remember Scarlet Witch’s tatas being so ridiculously that they are literally bursting to pop out of her teeny top. While costume updates are refreshing and I am a fan of the cover’s feel of sticking to the Ultimates thing rather than going for the old school cowl and tights, I will just say, you are not prepared for maximum boobage. I wasn’t. And while I am on the subject of cover art, it seems silly but incredibly likely that the very talented Kaare Andrews was just told a somewhat vague IDEA of what Wanda looked like via a game of Telephone. And then sent to a lonely corner to create an awesome cover that doesn’t accurately represent what Ms. Maximoff looks like in the pages, woe be to those who wish she did. /soapbox.
So. Pietro is able to do by default what any other male would be unable to execute and have an eye-to-eye confrontation with his sister. To Pietro, following Wanda’s orders makes her the liable party and by her accepting the blame it clears the blood of thousands of mutants from his hands. But wait, no! Wanda points out that Pietro missed one stop on his journey through their plan, and that certainly means that it is indeed he who is responsible! Typical brother sister argument with a few superpowers thrown in for good measure, but at this point, I’m only mildly following along. There are so many vague references to “God” and “the plan” that I just wish they would both shut up and get to the real meat behind the orders, which unfortunately never arrives. The only thing this issue had going for it and resulted in my reading with bated breath through these pages wasn’t the art, the plot, or the the upcoming reveal of this “God” everyone speaks of. It was how real the writing felt. Nick Spencer really flexed his conversational chops this time around, and it is surprisingly well crafted. Most of this arc has left me feeling kind of blah about the events playing out, but reading Pietro’s desperate plea for help in dealing with this monumental guilt is one that tugged the ole heartstrings and reminded me that yes, I do have those. You can really feel Pietro’s anguish as he finally admits that he is still just a lost little boy taking orders from everyone around him with delusional ideals of being important and a savior. As Pietro admits that his fear kept him from following through with his plan and the weight of the knowledge on his shoulders, his eyes reek of longing for the acceptance of this “God.”
The final page rolls around as it is wont to do in the form of a..wait for it…cliffhanger! Pietro is seen clinging to the shirt of the actually-alive Magneto. Which, wait. Wasn’t he executed by Cyclops in Ultimatum? What is this I don’t even. As expected, characters previously thought dead are getting more Phoenix Downs than Jean Gray and popping up all over the place. Death is so out of fashion nowadays.
Best line: “Go change your clothes.” Really, Wanda? …Really?
Rating: 3.5 of 5. Half a star deducted for the obvious re-introduction of Magneto
Buy it? I vote yes for the arc overall, but don’t waste your money on this issue’s variant.
Considering this issue more than likely takes place over the span of just 5 minutes and feels more like filler than anything else, I’m not going to judge it too harshly because it does leave me with a couple of questions and interest in where the story is going. How are Xavier and Magnus still alive? Why is Magneto in a cave in Egypt with a bunch of delusional people outside worshiping him? Is death just a joke at Marvel? Will Wanda ever have a costume worth cosplay? All this and more better damn well be answered in my review of Ultimate Comics: X-Men #8, up later this week!