There have been some pretty big changes shaking up the world of Marvel Comics recently. The entire universe was recently reshuffled following the events of Secret Wars (which I will review upon completion). In the case of the mutants, though, it seems like the world has never stopped changing for them, and the changes keep coming in the monumental Uncanny X-Men #600, written by Brian Michael Bendis, with Sara Pichelli, Mahmud Asrar, Stuart Immonen, Kris Anka, Chris Bachalo, David Marquez, and Frazer Irving on art.
This book weaves together a multitude of stories. The main story focused on the surviving holding an intervention/trial for Beast. They felt he has been taking far too many liberties, breaking the laws of physics, meddling about with genetics, and generally screwing around with the fabric of space-time. Of course he feels justified in all of his work, and talks about how he has been doing it for the betterment of all, but he seems to also be forgetting the consequences of his actions.
The first breakaway story deals with Colossus and Kitty interacting for the first time since her engagement to Star-Lord… which I don’t much like, being a long time Piotr/Kitty shipper. There is also a rather touching reunion between Colossus and his estranged sister Magick, who haven’t spoken since she took Cyclops’ side during the Schism event a few years earlier.
The second story focused on Iceman talking to his time-displaced younger self. In this story young Iceman tells his older self that he is openly gay and wonders if the older him is as well. This story was leaked early and has been speculated on for years, and in my opinion, was handled well. Older Iceman had his reasons for staying closeted: mainly he felt being a mutant was hard enough, and finally revealed to the world that he is also a homosexual. I usually hate sudden, seemingly out of the blue character changes, but this one worked. His reasoning was solid; at the time he had to ask himself, in his own words, “Can I have just one part of my life that I’m not being persecuted for?” Considering the time period his character first appeared, and the fact that being a mutant was a life or death fight every day, I think that is a fine question to ask and not a selfish way to live his life. I am glad he is out of the closet, but I also think his character should not feel the shame that he portrays in those panels.
The next segment is my least favorite and the most frustrating one of the issue. It focuses on the time-displaced team of X-Men. For those not up to speed, Beast brought the original first class of X-Men into our time stream and now they are trapped, so basically Cyclops, Jean Grey, Angel, Iceman, and Beast all have their 1960’s versions running around our time line. This story by itself is silly, and I don’t understand why people like it, but this newest chapter is by far the worst. In their original timeline Scott and Jean are not together, which is fine, but now, in the segment, Jean Grey declares her romantic interest in Hank McCoy, the young Beast.
I almost dropped my phone, (literally; I was reading the issue on my phone). This poor woman was the anchor of the team for years, ultimately becoming the cosmic avatar of rebirth. Her love for Scott was constant, and they have one of the most beautiful love stories in comic history, but for some reason everyone else also loves Jean. If it’s not a villain or Wolverine it’s someone else that is madly in love with her. Why ruin Beast by throwing him in there as well? There has never been any indication that he ever had any feelings for her, and at this point I really wonder who is going to love Jean next.
I feel like her latest resurrection was a shoehorned-in retcon to let her finally love every X-Man one at a time, and I for one was really disappointed when I read this part. It’s honestly the worst segment in an otherwise fantastic book. Seriously…. is there anyone else she hasn’t kissed? If so, they’d better hurry up before she returns to her own timeline… or just dies again.
The final segment breaks up the intervention and features all the world’s mutants on the steps of the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. In this moving segment Cyclops calls for revolution–not violence or war, but revolution. The scene culminates with Magento coming down and joining them, saying that this is exactly what Charles Xavier would have wanted. I agree with that, but I’m also a little bit saddened at the road Cyclops took to get there. He killed Charles, drove a wedge between mutants, and hurt a lot of people to get to the point where he finally understands that revolution can be brought about without violence.
This issue was an excellent one all around. It really brought some huge change in a lot of positive ways to the X-Men, and was fully deserving of its extra pages. I am glad to see a series last 600 issues and am glad that they went a more talkative route for a major issue instead of showcasing some major death or battle. I am not happy with the entire issue, but I am happy with what the entire issue says, which is change that doesn’t have to be violent and that these beloved characters have more depth than just punching things. I only wish Charles could have seen this, and I fear for the future.