Thursday, January 22, 2015

X-Men Forever by Chris Claremont issue #14 (2009)

The exciting conclusion for the Black Magik story arc is here and it was a serviceable ending issue which, unlike the  previous Sentinels one, did not annoy me--but it didn't get satisfy me fully either. Nothing has yet to surpass the beautiful atrocity that is Love--And Loss!, however, and I think I will use that as the standard for other story arcs to comply if not live up to. To its credit, Black Magik wrapped up with an uplifting note once you inspect it solely as a Kitty Pryde story which it really is in a lot of respects. I believe Claremont has intended this to be very character-driven, focusing on Kitty's struggle about her new powers and the identity it may inspire. There were instances in other issues that she seems to be emulating Logan and this issue has emphasized that when, during a confrontation, she addresses the villain Cossack as "bub" before she delivers him the supposedly final blow. Thankfully, Black Widow interrupted and shot the bastard dead instead before Kitty could kill him.

And I do mean 'thankfully' because Kitty was obviously horrified to find out later on after her recovery that she made a decision to kill someone even if it was a vile creature like Cossack. That was not her acting on her own; that has to be Logan's influence on her. Wolverine has learned to make the most difficult decisions including killing someone if it means preventing other bad things from happening. Kitty is not ready to walk that path of no return, and Black Widow saw it so she took the reigns and I was so goddamn relieved of that. I think Kitty got off unscathed in general for this storyline. True, she was manipulated by Magik for the first part of the issue but she eventually fought back, thanks to Gambit getting through her as well as her own sheer will and strength to choose the goodness over the steady grip of the shadows living and growing inside her.

We all have a darkness and with Kitty being infused by another mutant's genetic make-up, it's not really surprising that she's suffering from the unmitigated consequences of these new powers that she didn't have enough experience of fortitude to control. Wolverine has been carrying the burden of his adamantium prison cell of a body for decades upon decades and Kitty only had a few weeks to adjust to her own adamantium claw so of course she couldn't possibly keep it under wraps.

For now, she was saved by a concerned ally from making an awful mistake that could change her forever, but what about the next time when she's in another mission and she'll be confronted by yet another villainous fiend who might force her hand again? What happens to Kitty Pryde then? I'm glad that that the resolution offered for now regarding her ongoing battle with this newfound power is not complete. We will see Kitty tested again in the upcoming issues, I hope. Her character has been so enjoyable because of the moral crisis she's facing in line with the losses of loved ones that served as catalysts to it. It's certainly a compelling character subplot I want to Claremont to deftly explore.

Meanwhile, in the Xavier Mansion, Kurt (Nightcrawler) gets a phone call from an old friend and he panics because she seems to have stumbled upon a dangerous trap. Rogue, seeing it as an opportunity to help out a comrade and get out of the house to do something productive, offers him assistance. I looked through the next couple of issues and it looks like we're getting this duo's own storyline and I look forward to that a lot because it's Rogue and Rogue is always awesome. And now we reach the end of this issue, something that I extremely dread to talk about here but I have no other choice but to do so because it's going to play out in the next stories of this series after all. Jean and Hank are closer than before and it has officially become amorous after their date in a blues club where Jean snogs him outside the establishment. It was also raining just to add to the atmosphere of budding romance. I don't know how to feel about this. I don't want to say I hate this development because both characters are important to me and belong to my top favorites. And yet, at the same time, I am so uncomfortable. I'm already blissfully torn with Scott and Logan as Jean's love interests and now we add Beast to this love geometry?

Ultimately, I'm not pleased about Jean's role in the series right now. I understand she's grieving but she has clearly moved on but she did so by engaging with yet another (doomed) romance. I ask this with all the love and respect I have for Ms. Grey--but what the fuck is wrong with her? Anyway, I won't be harsh to her in my official review of the third volume because I think I can sympathize with her in general, regarding where she is coming from. I need to share my more expounded thoughts about her in my next post after this.


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