It’s that time again. I’m going broader this time. Saying thoughts about the book as a whole too.
In all honesty, I’m pretty bored with the book. The primary reason I read it is because Polaris is on it.
There’s just flat out too much emphasis on alternate universe characters. Way, way, way too much. Bunn takes extra time to explain who these characters are this time, but it doesn’t really matter. Most people are going to think there’s no real point cause they aren’t going to matter after Blue. Just look at the three AU mutants that showed up on All-New X-Factor #2, as part of Quicksilver’s story. If they’ve been up to anything since 2014, I have no idea what it even is.
In the hierarchy of comic book characters, AU characters are considered pointless unless you’re really deeply committed to a specific character. They’re not the “real,” 616 versions of these characters.They’re going to go away and be completely irrelevant some day. Rachel Grey/Summers works because she’s the child of two core X-Men, there’s no 616 counterpart to her, and she was one of the early ones. Characters like this Colossus knight, Blood Storm and Jimmy don’t have that.
AU characters work for brief arcs. They work for entirely self-contained stories. They don’t work as the core theme of a committed ongoing book. They’re a pretty good example of the pitfalls of being a hardcore fan and making comics. Things you geek about may be things casual readers don‘t really care about.
It also pisses off a LOT of people who are fans of characters that aren’t getting used. All these storylines about AU characters are storylines that COULD have been traded for ones featuring characters that are largely ignored. As a Polaris fan, if she wasn’t being used in any comics and this was happening, I’d be absolutely pissed. I’d be pointing at X-Men Blue as evidence of Marvel being so awful that they think even temporary AU characters are more deserving of use.
If this looks in any way like an attack on X-Men Blue, then I just want to emphasize that’s not my intent. I’m just trying to explain what a lot of fans must be thinking and feeling even if they don’t outright say it. The first step to making sure things work out well is to know where a problem is so it can be fixed.
I also generally get the feeling Bunn is uncomfortable with the fluffy happy teen O5. I get the feeling he’s more comfortable with dark, rough, edgy characters and storylines, and he’s trying to bring more of that into the book cause it’s his natural element.
This isn’t a dig on him. All writers are more comfortable with some scenarios than others. It’s why a lot of writers fall back into old habits of how to treat characters, what storylines they pursue, etc. Bunn’s comfort area is dark and rough stuff. There’s nothing wrong with having a comfort area. But it does mean doing stuff outside it is more difficult, and there’s a tendency to try to bring in comfortable stuff to make it easier.
On to other things.
The Edgar Rice Burroughs reference is both good and bad. It’s a reference that makes sense for Jean Grey to make given her original time period. I get the impression Bunn is having fun with the writing there, and that’s always a good thing. On the other hand, it’s a reference most people aren’t going to catch. I actually had to look up who Edgar Rice Burroughs is to understand the reference, and I think I’m atypical in a willingness to do that. This is a case where I think a different reference, even if it was a modern one, would’ve worked better.
Jean Grey showing more variety with her powers is good here, between hallucinations and the TK bumpers. I know some people have complained about her not being creative enough with her powers. This issue showed she can do more than telepathy and throwing things around.
On that note, would just like to note as a Polaris fan that Lorna could do the same things if Marvel was willing to acknowledge the full extent of what can be done with electromagnetism. Just throwing that out there.
The line “lemonade from lemons.” Entirely personal thought horning in, I would’ve liked ‘demonade from demons’ more. There’s nothing wrong with the original line. It’s perfectly fine. I just felt it could’ve used some playfulness.
Also, Jean asking Scott what’s wrong toward the end. This is probably nitpicking. I know Jean explains about how they need to make mental partitions and all, and reading between the lines, I’m sure this was a sign of Jean setting one up to avoid picking up Scott’s thoughts. It still irked me and felt like she should’ve known anyway.
Now for a couple Polaris-specific things.
The vents (or whatever the word is) they’re in, I feel Lorna in particular has much more that she’d contribute to it given how much loss and pain she’s endured. In all honesty, I doubt that will be acknowledged. Everyone at Marvel likes to pretend she’s a white as snow Xavier type that’s never endured any trauma or suffering. I don’t know if it’s executive/editorial mandate (probably is) to ignore the core of who Lorna is, or if it’s various creative types doing it, but it’s annoying and I don’t expect it to change here. It’d be really nice for things to work otherwise.
As far as Lorna (and Magneto, and Danger) having been beaten by Madelyne Pryor and them, it’s fine here. Nothing wrong with characters getting beaten by other characters, and I appreciate that it happened off panel so there’s no arguments about it. But, general warning: Polaris (and the others, really) being beaten like this should be rare. Do it too much and it not only makes a mockery of the characters, but for this book, it raises the question of how they can even pretend to be in a position to mentor/teach the O5. Jean and Cyclops at least got out alive, after all. What do they have to teach the O5 if they can’t protect themselves and need rescuing all the time?
Lastly, Blood Storm. I’ll just get it out in the open: I know she’ll be sticking around. I hope Bunn is better about having Polaris and any version of Storm on the same team/book together than Claremont was. I’m a lot more open to Storm and Lorna interaction than with Havok. I’m willing to give it a shot cause the hate-a-thon got dropped after Claremont left, and more emphasis was put on Storm’s value in her own right than in tearing down Lorna to do it. But, I’m still cautious on this point.
All I’ve got to say for now.