Until recently with big-budget super-hero films opening in late March and April, Memorial Day weekend has long been the unofficial beginning of the summer movie season. When you take a look at the top ten box office movies over Memorial Day weekend what you find is a collection of sadly mediocre, and downright awful, films. Seven of the top ten are sequels. Of the six I’ve written full reviews for only two have received a passing rating. Memorial Day may begin the summer movie season, but, as these ten movies show, it’s far from the best summer blockbusters have to offer.
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Uncanny X-Men wraps up the Matthew Malloy storyline with a bit of a cheat and in a way that teaches Tempus a horrible lesson about how messing with the past to remove someone from all existence is a good thing for a hero to do. First, I don’t buy Professor Xavier taking such a stance. And second, Tempus’ threat to do the same to Cyclops is not only out of line but also empty as any erasing of the existence of Scott Summers (who matters far more in Marvel history than Mally) would lead to any number of dire futures completely destroyed by the Phoenix or ruled over by Apocalypse or Magneto.
The other problem with the arc’s wrap-up is that removes the intriguing character of Malloy in a way that admits he doesn’t really matter (an argument at odds with everything the X-Men have stood for over the last half-century) as the character was never designed to be anyhing more than a plot device from the beginning. The fallout also leaves several questions about the future direction of this title with Scott closing his school and (apparently) choosing to roam the Earth like Caine in Kung Fu. Hit-and-Miss.
The time-displaced X-Men’s adventure in the Marvel Ultimate Universe comes to a close as the two teams work together to take down their version of Doctor Doom. This also (rather coincidentally) leads to the return of the young mutant who has been jumping through realities unable to find her way home (at least until she gets the right kind of help).
Like most of Marvel’s current multi-issue arcs the storyline dragged far longer than necessary to properly fill the inevitable graphic novel trade paperpback. That said, even if it is two issues too late, the conclusion to the arc does offer some fun moments including the Beast‘s explosive revenge against Doctor Doom, Miles Morales getting a proper thank you from Jean Grey, and both teams being annoyed by the wisecracking of not one but two versions of Iceman.
The issue is really a microcosm of the entire arc in that it includes some fun moments but never quite lives up to the promise of its premise ultimately offering a mostly forgettable adventure. For fans.
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Uncanny X-Men #29 not only offers us a battle of words between Cyclops and Magneto over the fate of the extremely powerful, and a bit out-of-control, Matthew Malloy, but it also adds a mew wrinkle with a pair of time-traveling subplots one of which may stabilize the situation and another that may through the X-Men’s entire history into chaos.
Along with continuing to play on Magik jumping back-forth through time for the assistance of Doctor Strange, who comes us with an unusual solution to the Malloy problem, the latest issue also gives Tempus her own subplot as she considers altering time in a very large way by warning Professor Xavier of the Malloy situation in the past and alloying him to try and prevent the current situation before it ever occurs. Of course you have to wonder what else a past version of Xavier might learn about both his future and that of his prized student opening up the door for a very big shakeup if Brian Michael Bendis wants to walk the reader through. Worth a look.
The time-displaced X-Men’s (along with X-23) visit to the Marvel Ultimate Universe continues as Jean Grey goes looking for help only to come face-to-face with this world’s X-Men including herself. Reading each others minds creates immediate confusion for both telepaths but also forges an unusual friendship between the pair understanding the highs and lows of each other’s troubled lives. Attempting to return home to Cyclops‘ compound, Angel and X-23 also discover that they are indeed in the wrong world and, as far as they know, without a way to get back home.
Things aren’t any easier for the Beast who has a dinner date with this world’s Doctor Doom who is fascinated with the tale of time-and-space-displaced mutants. Just what the super-villain plans to do with such knowledge is yet to be seen. And, in the least interesting of the three storylines, Iceman finishes battling the mole monster on the streets of New York only to run into a couple of police officers and discover mutants are no more beloved in this reality than his own. Worth a look.
While others react to his recent move of attempting to befriend rather than stop the dangerous Omega-level mutant, Cyclops works to attempt to convince Matthew Malloy to join his team of X-Men offering Scott Summers a big gun and game changer in his standoff against S.H.I.E.L.D.
Although the unstable Malloy is still far from A) Joining Cyclops team or B) Being able to control his powers to be able to join the team, Cyclops’ offer leaves Beast, Maria Hill, and others at a complete loss of what to do next. The only one who seizes the opportunity to act is Magneto who finally returns to the series after a lengthy abscence not all that keen on what Cyclops has been doing in since his departure.
I’m happy to see Magneto’s return but sad to learn that he appears to be at odds with a move that could take the X-Men, and the series, to an entirely new level. Worth a look.
As the rest of the scattered X-Men discover they aren’t in Kansas anymore, Jean Grey enlists the help of Miles Morales in hopes of finding the rest of her time-and-space displaced team. Angel and X-23 manage to make it back to the home of their X-Men only to find more questions as the Beast sits down for dinner with Victor von Damme, and Iceman deals with a pissed-off Mole Man and his entire underground army.
Getting Angel and X-23 back adds some nice levity to the situation while the rest of the team mainly freaks out with their new reality. For someone unfamiliar with Marvel’s Ultimate Universe (which I’ve mostly avoided other than the early Ultimate Spider-Man arcs) I felt as out-of-place as the X-Men, but given the fact that is exactly the issue’s hook it certainly doesn’t hurt the story (although those more familiar with the universe will obviously get more out of the cameos of the various alternate versions of Marvel Comics characters). Worth a look.
In an issue that teases possible serious repercussions for both teams of X-Men going forward, Cyclops reluctantly agrees to help Wolverine‘s team and S.H.I.E.L.D. stop Matthew Malloy before the mutant is overcome by his restored powers no longer kept in check by the recently deceased Charles Xavier.
I’m always a bit squeamish when comics rely on the introduction of a new super-duper-awesome hero/villain as a plot device to effect change. Someone as powerful as Malloy simply inserted into the existing universe creates all kinds of problems that Marvel Comics may not be prepared to deal with. Don’t believe me? Look up the Sentry‘s Wikipedia entry.
Cyclops’ decision-making at the end of this issue (after the heroes where routed easily by Malloy) offers Scott Summers the opportunity to further his own mutant agenda (even if it may very likely push him down a super-villain path which he has teetered on ever since the fracture of the team). Worth a look.
Helping setting up Marvel Comics’ Fall Avengers/X-Men crossover Axis (which I will likely be giving a very wide berth), Magneto‘s search leads him to be captured by the Red Skull who, imbued with a part of Charles Xavier‘s mental gifts, uses his mind to turn Magneto’s own past against him.
Taking place mostly inside Magneto’s mind, Magneto #10 focuses on Magneto attempting to keep his sanity and stop the Red Skull from breaking him (which would happened if not for the timely arrival of the Scarlet Witch, Rogue, and Quicksilver). As to the now mutant-powered Red Skull… meh.
For a comic that has gone out of its way to keep its lead character off the grid throwing him into the middle of a crossover this big is more than a little jarring. That said, the tease at the end of the issue involving Magneto’s rash decision allows readers who stick around to see what an amped-up version of his former self might accomplish. For fans.