Monday, May 14, 2012

Comic Review -- X-Men #27 / Victor Gischler, Jorge Molina, Salva Espin, and Guru eFX

This is a pretty decent cover, though whether it works or not depends on how central you think Jubilee is to the team and the comic.  While Psylocke, Storm, Colossus and Domino all look pretty badass as they square off with Lord Deathstrike and his mercs, her absence is telling, given that the story has basically centered around her and her struggles with vampirism.  You could also say it's symbolic, given the ending of the issue, though I'll elaborate on that later.  In the meantime, I do think this is a nice cover.

Jubilee faces off against Kodo's assassin in a swordfight, and does all the heavy lifting on the banter and smack-talking end, as Lord Deathstrike is completely silent, and expressionless behind his mask.  Meanwhile, Warpath, Domino, Deadpool, and the Forgiven have succeeded in driving off the assassins that had come to kill them, and make their way back to Kodo and the other X-Men.  Unable to best Deathstrike in sword technique, Jubilee allows him to run her through so she can get close to him and, with sword sticking through her back, headbutt him hard in the mask, leaving him prone.  She nearly decides to drain him of blood then, but is stopped by a plea from Kodo and Storm, and spares his life.  He bows to her, teleports away, and leaves Jubilee to decide what her path should be now.  Electing to stay behind with the Forgiven, she vows to learn as much about being a vampire as possible, so that she may do the most good.

This was a good end to the arc I came into a few issues ago, and while I'm not very pleased about Jubilee's departure from the X-Men--she belongs there, as far as I'm concerned, and always will, mutant or not--it's an understandable one, as the Forgiven clearly have much they can teach her.  I think the parallels between these vampires and the X-Men are also noteworthy, in that both are hated and feared by the larger majority, despite the fact that they try to protect both.  So I will give my blessing for her departure, though I hope to see the day she returns home to her real family.

I also like the way the X-Men and the Forgiven have come to a kind of understanding of one another, through Jubilee.  They may not necessarily like one another, but they are more alike than they initially realized, both have had the opportunity to test and respect the other's combat prowess, and they both care for the teenager with the vampire complex, Jubilee.  It leaves the door open for possible future collaborations and storylines, and makes for the kind of relationship you might see in the real world between groups who respect one another: a silent kind of agreement or understanding, without extreme dollops of rage or love that we often see between super-groups in comics.

Also, I have to give props to how Jubilee handled combat with the mysterious Lord Deathstrike (though I do have issues with his name--is he related to Lady Deathstrike?  If not, find another moniker, please).  She clearly didn't have his level of skill, but decided to take a (normally) mortal blow to get close and finish the fight her way.  It was a badass move, and one that drives home the idea that you shouldn't mess with the teenage vampire girl when she's protecting an ally.

Art-wise, Molina continues to deliver a satisfactory rendition of the characters and the action, this time with some help from Salva Espin.  I can't tell who did what and where--it looks pretty much like what I've seen from Molina--but the overall result is a worthy blend of action, drama, and vampiric teenage rage that works for this installment.  One minor nitpick has to do with Jubilee's coat getting shredded during her fight with Lord Deathstrike, and then it being all fine and whole at the end of the issue.  Unless they have extras in the X-Jet, I don't see how this would be possible.

Overall, this was a fun, decent, if not particularly noteworthy romp through the dramas of the X-men and their world.  The story is fun, the artwork is good, and we see the departure of Jubilee for a while from the ranks of the X-Men.  Recommended.

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