Thursday, 22 August 2013

X-Men Re-read: X-Men: Messiah CompleX

comic musings

The Great X-Men Re-read

X-Men: Messiah CompleX

Collects: X-Men: Messiah CompleX, Uncanny X-Men #492-494, X-Men #205-207, New X-Men #44-46, X-Factor #25-27
Writer(s): Ed Brubaker, Mike Carey, Peter David, Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost
Penciller(s): Marc Silvestri, Billy Tan, Scot Eaton, Humberto Ramos and Chris Bachalo

Messiah CompleX is my favourite X-Men story of all time. The first mutant birth from M-day sparks a race that ties up a lot of story-lines coming into this point.

Quick Synopsis
The story opens with the X-Men playing catch up. The birth has happened and by the time the X-Men get there, the baby is gone, leaving only bodies of Marauders (from X-Men) and Purifiers (from New X-Men). Cyclops effectively performs a coo on Professor X, assuming control of the X-Men. You could argue that this is just stamping home the power shift that happened in Deadly Genesis.

Playing catch-up, Cyclops sends Wolverine, Storm Colossus, Angel and Nightcrawler after the Marauders (who still have Rogue captive), he sends Jaime and Layla from X-Factor to Forge to look at the future time lines he's been mapping (in Endangered Species) and they find that two of them now have mutants in them. Jamie sends a dupe to each future and Layla goes with one of them, in the present day Jamie drops into a coma. Cyclops sends Rictor (also of X-Factor) to infiltrate the Purifiers (Ric is one of the mutants who had lost his powers on M-day), he discovers that they are now working with Lady Deathstrike and the Reavers.

The New X-Men being frustrated at being left out of Cyclops' plans take matters into their own hands and launch an attack on the Purifiers. Hellion is badly injured. Simultaneously the team who are gong after the Marauders are being assisted by Emma Frost back in the Mansion, as Hellion and the New X-Men return back the connection they had with Emma is separated leading to defeat and Nightcrawler's injury.

Things heat up back at the mansion as Sentinel Squal O*N*E go haywire and start attacking the mansion and destroy it. They're defeated and the X-Men regroup. They learn from Wolverine that Cable (who went missing in Blinded by the Light) has the baby. Wolverine got this intel from Gambit during the battle with the Marauders, leading us to ponder Gambit's allegiances once more. Cyclops suspects Cable of being behind the Sentinel attack (which is a bit harsh, considering Cable is his son).

In the future, Layla and Jamie discover mutant concentration camps, and end up with the distinctive "M" DNA tattoo, most commonly associated with Bishop. Cyclops dispatches a new X-Force consisting of Wolverine, Hepzibah, Warpath, Caliban, X-23 and Wolfsbane to go after Cable, they catch up with him in the middle of a battle with Lady Deathstrike and the Reavers. In the battle, in which Caliban dies, Cable steals the Blackbird that X-Force arrived in heading towards Forge, looking for a time travel device. He's attacked by Bishop who makes a heel turn. In the future, Layla and Jamie run into the infant Bishop, and they discover his knowledge about the Messiah child and how he would kill her if he could, to prevent his timeline existing.

Before Bishop can pull the trigger, the Marauders interrupt who take the baby to Muir Island, under Gambit's care. The X-Men get a version of Cerebra working and Cyclops rescues X-Force, Bishop, Forge and Jaime (who is still unconscious). Bishop continues to pin the blame on Cable. Cyclops sends X-Force and Bishop ahead to Muir Island. In the future, Layla kills Jaime with a hand grenade, sending his memories back to our Jaime who awakens and warns them about Bishop. Jaime also now sports the "M" tattoo.

The main parties, along with Predator X (from New X-Men) all get themselves to Muir Island for the final confrontation, with Cable convincing Professor X of his innocence, reminding him of the events of X-Cutioners Song when Cable was suspected of shooting Xavier. Cable remarks that in his time, the baby was a Messiah who united all of man and mutantkind, we're left to assume this is the other future that Forge's device detected.

On Muir Island, it's revealed that Sinister has been killed by Mystique who is masquerading as him. She uses the baby to awaken Rogue and it's explained that her and Gambit's actions have been done according to what the precog Destiny had predicted. It's revealed that the baby has wiped Rogue of her assembled memories that she has absorbed over the years.

As the Marauders and Acolytes battle the X-Men, Cable gets the baby back, but Bishop is back on the scene. Predator X rips his arm off, effectively ending his threat. Cyclops demands that Cable hand over the child, Cable is reluctant, but Xavier agrees, saying that Cyclops should see what they've been fighting over. Cyclops remembers the events of Inferno when he sent his child (who would grow up to be Cable into the future to have a chance of life). He gives the baby back to Cable and tells him to go. Bishop gets a gun and shoots just as Cable time-slides to the future. The shot misses Cable, but hits Xavier in the head.

Xavier's body disappears and Cyclops declares there are no more X-Men anymore.

Aftermath and Consequences
Sadly, New X-Men ends and the story-lines and creative team goes to X-Force.
Cable gets a new series charting his attempts to keep the baby safe.
X-Men retains its numbering and becomes X-Men: Legacy, focusing on Xavier.
We get a new Young X-Men series, but it doesn't last long and has issues.
New Excalibur is effectively relaunched as Captain Britain and MI:13

Layla is stuck in the future for awhile, I can't remember how long.
Rahne (Wolfsbane) moves from X-Factor to the new X-Force.
The X-Men disband during the Divided We Stand era, but bring it back together for Manifest Destiny.

Best Bit
With so much to love, it's hard to pick just one moment. The splash page with the reveal of Cable having the baby is pretty awesome tho.

Final Words
Everything comes together in spectacular style.

10 / 10

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