This has been a weird story arc so far, and hardly the good kind. It's not exactly boring or bland, but neither is it very interesting or particularly thrilling, at least compared to the previous stories. Jason Aaron still writes comedy like a pro, of course, and the rapport among the students of Jean Grey School is always so amusing, and Nick Bradshaw's illustrations of the circus is very detailed and colorful to sustain my visual interest in the scenes, but something about the narrative feels hollow and rushed somewhat. Well, I still have issue #23 to read tomorrow which is the concluding piece of the arc so we'll see. Let's discuss the content of #21-22 for now.
Issue #21 opens with Quentin Quire waking up late on yet another school day, and immediately discovers that something is amiss. He goes to his first class and finds everyone goofing around. He searches the entire school telepathically afterwards and realizes that the faculty has been absent--all of them unaccounted for, much to his glee. The very first thing he did was, of course, to step out of the school premises which his classmates reluctantly join him in. Meanwhile, the faculty of the Jean Grey School in question is being held against their will to perform as circus acts in Frankenstein's Monster's lair. This particular circus entices and lures adults into participating as literally the captive audience, all the while a witch sucks their souls for FM's use. I don't know, it's all very unremarkable, really. FM bemoans about his tortured existence and how he needs to get his revenge on, so he is basically hunting down all of the Dr. Frankie's descendants to make them suffer because if you're going to follow through the cycle of revenge, you might as well be a completist, yo.
|That reminds me. I gotta start watching this show again.|
As the fucking fates of convenience would have it, the latest descendant is no other than tween Hellfire Club's bishop named Maximillian Von (insert unpronounceable German-something name here). This is a great way of tying together both storylines concerning FM and the HC. Since issue #18, Max was busy playing priest to Idie, and by 'playing priest' I meant he has a cyborg disguised as a priest who counsels Idie concerning her beliefs that her mutation is an evil curse or something. Look, I'm sympathetic to Idie's way of thinking but it's very damaging, not failing to mention that it also reinforces self-hate, something she may destroy herself with, given enough ample time. That hatred has been taking root and Kade Kilgore wants to keep sprinkling water in it until it sprouts and they can recruit her into the Hellfire Club. So far, it might just work out that way, but thanks to the timely interruption by FM, Max was captured before he can go back to the club, and the one person who comes to his rescue is no other than Idie. She sort of recognizes him but couldn't exactly tell how and where (um, back when he was with Kade in the first two issues where the tween HC almost destroyed Jean Grey Schoo. Ring any bells? No?).
Meanwhile, Q and the class discovers what happened to their teachers and tried to save them from the mind compulsion. Heck, even Rachel Grey was under the spell. Q was more than happy to keep the teachers in the circus but then the witch who had them in strings proceeded to make said teachers attack their own students and it was awful, so Q had no choice but to fight back. It's not an even or fair fight either way so it was great that newly hired Storm was the first one to regain back her agency and Wolverine also followed suit. Oh, it's worth mentioning that he's been reduced to Revolto the clown but that is still is second fiddle to the embarrassment and humiliation he endured and one that Cassandra Nova put him under back in Whedon's run of The Astonishing X-Men when he was turned into a scaredy, pussified excuse of a man. On the other hand, Idie was left by herself to fend against FM who is literally choking her to death while Max hides in a corner somewhere, looking torn about helping her and sacrificing himself in the process; or escaping. Ah, decisions. Well, I bet he will help in the end since Kade specified that he needed Idie to join their ranks. What better way to earn her trust and gratitude? So, make your move, Bishop.