I don't think Brian Wood's stories for X-Men: Vol IV are necessarily bad or bland, but they do lack that 'enticement factor' which is present in other X-titles. As well done as the visual work has been so far, and as straightforward and comprehensible his plots have been at this point, this title is just not something I look forward to reading, let alone compose an in-depth review of. The crossover issues about Battle of the Atom have been interesting enough, but it also cost Kitty Pryde's appearance here in his next stories, and, of course, the absence of my childhood favorite is noted as well which leads to some inevitable soul-searching on my part.
Look, this is a serious question: WHY CAN'T I JUST HAVE MY ROGUE BACK? It's like she's irrelevant now. I miss the nineties because most of my experience in its comics roster for X-Men featured her, even if not heavily. Those small doses of her appearances and participation in the stories were always treasured by me, and I really thought Brian Wood was going to keep her around because I was actually glad to see a Rogue who enjoys siphoning other mutants' powers not for any kind of malicious intent but for good, honest fun, like that time in issue #4 with Psylocke which is coincidentally the best issue Wood has written so far. Why can't Wood just write something like that again?
To replace Rogue, he instead had another brawny lady (Monet) who is originally part of the Incredible Hulk canon. I thought her petty rivalry with Jubilee was amusing enough, but I don't know this character at all and nor am I interested in getting to know her either. I JUST WANT ROGUE BACK. Well, enough pointless whining then, and let's talk about issues #9-10 which are the continuing adventures of Lady Deathstrike, Typoid Mary and Enchantress, otherwise known collectively as the Sisterhood of Evil. It has to be said that the villainesses of this story apparently have their act together and are actually working as a team with different desires yet mutually beneficial goals that enable them to function together to defeat the X-(wo)Men. The same thing cannot be said for the latter. Storm and Rachel Grey have finally stopped fighting over who is to become the leader. Instead, Rachel had a 'moment' with John Sublime. I have never seen this physically manifest in the panels in the previous issues but I'm assuming it was also telepathic, considering Rachel's powers and Sublime being a thought consciousness type of alien. Their could-have-been romance was unfortunately squashed because Sublime is focused on stopping his vengeful twin sister Arkea who by now has a a different target--the X-(wo)Men. God, Arkea, could you be more cliché? I have no idea what she plans to do with tracking down Madelyn Pryor (so she's alive? Did not know this) nor am I that interested to find out.
Arkea is running the show now after she was freed by Lady Deathstrike. She took over her assistant Reiko's body and is now giving commands to the other members of the Sisterhood. She restored Amora the Enchantress powers after they were stripped by Thor, and helped Mary merge her split personality once and for all. I forgot if she ever did anything for Lady Deathstrike--maybe permanently instill her consciousness in Ana Cortes' meat suit for good--whatever. I'm not even sure Arkea still wanted Karima or if any of these villainesses still want to target her. I suppose Karima belongs to the X-(wo)Men so most probably they also want to kill her. This was why Storm was adamant to destroy any other replicates of Arkea around the globe. Oh yeah, did I fail to mention there are replicates of her? She did crash-land from a meteor after all and that meteor has remnants of her and said remnants were close to the ocean where several dormant Sentinels got brought back to life, being controlled by Arkea. Jubilee with some of the teenage students (has Wolverine approved this spontaneous field trip?) try to stop these Sentinels and that's how issue #10 ends with Pixie and Bling attacking head-on, never mind that there are no adults. Also, Quentin Quire failed to stop Arkea and that's just embarrassing. The Phoenix Force is watching, Q. Are you worthy of it?
Also, and this is so important, I hate Arkea. I really do. Not only is her role in this story keeping it from becoming interesting, and adding the fact that she's so rigidly characterized by Wood, her only real definitive quality is that she's the cliché that cliché pooped and made sentient. I don't care about her endgame. She wanted revenge on her brother. When she couldn't accomplish that, she set her sights on the X-(wo)Men instead. Seriously, go back to space and stop making Arkea happen, Arkea. IT'S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!
|The same thing goes for you, Mr. Wood!|
I'm going to lower my rating for these two issues, mostly because I now expect something more complex to be developed from this. After all, I'm growing steadily weary, if not bored, of the way Wood is handling his story and his characters. No one here is having their spotlight or any kind of indication that it's their time to shine. Everyone has been consistently mediocre as both heroines and villainesses. At this point, I probably should start reading the third volume for Bendis' The Uncanny X-Men. At least Arkea isn't there. Srsly, fuck that bitch.
KINDDA SORTA RECOMMENDED: 6/10