I've read from some fans that Claremont's return to X-Men comics with this series hasn't been that great especially if you would compare it with his earlier run before his retirement. But I would assert that expecting him to be at his best form after a decade has passed is unrealistic and unfair to the man. Look, I was pissed when Frank Miller came back with something like All-Star Batman and Robin after his successful and definitive graphic novels, Year One and The Dark Knight Returns. I suppose it happens every once in a while to a writer of great reputation and Claremont is no exception. Personally, X-Men Forever is a helluva lot more fun compared to Miller's All-Star. So excuse me, I'm going to keep reading this series because Claremont's interplay among characters has been the very thing I look forward to the most and with this new story arc (once again illustrated by Tom Grummett), it looks like I'm getting some of those soap-opera moments that really keep me invested.
The first part of Black Magik was a rocky start. We ended with Logan's funeral last issue and then we jump to Peter (Colossus) in Russia who was unable to attend the wake because he's busy being the nation's hero at this point. His ex Kitty Pryde, together with Gambit and teenage Ororo (whom everyone fondly calls 'Ro at this point so I think I'll be using that now in my reviews) decided to pay him a visit. Peter was surprised about this and Kitty looks so happy and comfortable jumping into his arms like that, claiming that she missed him dearly. And then Natasha Romanov (Black Widow) shows up and immediately super-awkwardness is detected because Kitty starts suspecting that something is up between Natasha and Peter. But we pleasantly cut to Rogue utterly horrified by the unwashed dishes on the sink and she started confronting Sabretooth about it who was acting like the worst roommate ever. Kurt gets in between them, hoping to settle the conflict before it worsens but it does anyway especially when Sabretooth adds insult to injury by asking Rogue to fetch him some beer because what are women for if not personal kitchen slaves? So the two of them exchanged some fisticuffs in the swimming pool area. This kind of thin is hilarious and never ceases to make me chuckle. Jean walks in but doesn't get involved. She's not in good shape to do so anyway, emotionally speaking. She confides in Hank again because they've been spending a lot of time together lately, talking about personal stuff like girlfriends. But Hank is also doing his own research regarding a cure for mutant burnout which Jean encourages. Afterwards, we get to the two pages I loved the most about this issue which contained a meaningful conversation between Nick Fury and Professor X.
I know it doesn't seem like it because I keep commenting on the fact that he's so creepy at times but I do love Charles Xavier. I loved him in the animated series with his yellow-cab wheelchair and I love him as portrayed Patrick Stewart with his air of sage wisdom and you better believe I absolutely adored him as performed by the dashing James McAvoy in the new trilogy. I understood his reasons for keeping stuff a secret from the X-Men. I never loathed him for it In fact, I kind of expected him to do that. He's made some dick moves before in comics but all with the right intentions so now it's great we get to see that it blows up in his face this time. I'm pleased Fury is the one who understands him better considering he is also playing a leadership role and knows the gravitas and pressure of making life-altering decisions that won't exactly make you likable to your colleagues but you must do so anyway for their best interests. Also, it's not like Charles has anyone else in his life right now whom he could share his struggles with man-to-man and as equals. Magneto, after all, is dead and gone. I can't help but feel that this is the kind of conversation they would have had if only
Things did not soften that much on Kitty's side because Peter and Natasha have now revealed that they are in fact a couple. Kitty was okay with it on the surface but of course it's uncomfortable for her. Gambit was quite insightful to point out to 'Ro that it has little to do with the superficial layer of "my ex is with someone else" shtick. He asserts that "It's like everywhere she turns, someone she counted on isn't there anymore." And that broke my heart a little. Aside from Jean, the one person who feels the substantial loss of Logan was Kitty because both Logan and Storm were godparents to her and she lost them both in such a sudden and traumatic way. Not to mention the fact that she's changing due to the infusion she experienced when Wolverine's genetic mark (the adamantine claw) became a part of her by accident. Clearly, Kitty is having the toughest of times and she's trying to keep a cool head, hoping her accompanying 'Ro will make things better somehow. And now she gets reunited with Peter, someone from her past who used to be devoted to her, but he's fallen for someone else and she just can't deal with it right now. Of course, she's not going to make it all about her though so she says nothing about this revelation.
GOD, WHY ARE ALL YOUR HEARTS BROKEN, X-MEN?