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Mutants vs. Vampires

July 14, 2010

Continuing the Curse of the Mutants from The Death of Dracula #1, X-Men #1 brings the X-Men into the Heroic Age after Second Coming.  The issue starts with Pixie and the depowered Jubilee chatting under an umbrella in Union Square in San Francisco.  After Pixie leaves to get nachos, some massive guy wearing all black walks up to the recreation area, partially undresses and unzips his mouth covering, starts sizzling, and explodes into blood.  The blood covers everyone in the vicinity, including Jubilee.  Elsewhere, Xarus and Alyssa smile at the beginning of their victory.  Pixie brings Jubilee back to Utopia, where Dr. Nemesis and Dr. Kavita Rao examine her.  Needless to say, Cyclops and Wolverine aren’t happy at the prospect of facing vampires again.  Another vampire (likely Atlantis Sect) comes up near Fisherman’s Wharf, and the doctors give Cyclops the bad news that Jubilee’s infected with a manufactured virus that’s going to turn her into something similar to a vampire.  All of the other infected people get called to where that other vampire and Alyssa are waiting.  They note that their target, likely Jubilee, isn’t there, but the infection just has to work its way through her system.  Cyclops decides to send out a search party to get answers and refuses to let Storm join in.  Wolverine takes Angel and Pixie, and they track the scent from the bombing to a nearby warehouse, where they first get attacked by a vampire’s human familiars, then inside, the vampire.  Wolverine takes said vampire out rather quickly.  Dr. Rao tries to get Jubilee to come inside, since she’s already manifesting systems, like not liking light, yet she refuses to go inside and snaps at Rao.  Nemesis tells Cyclops that the virus is connecting Jubilee’s psychological cravings with her physical needs.  And that will likely end up turning into blood very soon.  Wolverine, Angel, and Pixie report back in that there are tons of bodies in that warehouse, as well as lots of scents.  When Wolverine tells Cyclops that the vampire mentioned that the Lord of the Vampires was there, Cyclops tells him to bring back in his team for a war council.  And Jubilee watches the sunset.

Unfortunately, this issue doesn’t quite capture the intrigue of the purely vampire prologue to this story.  It’s forcing mutants into what really should have just been a vampire story.  Victor Gischler definitely gets those vampires, but he has more trouble with the X-Men, the titular characters of this title.  I mean, his characterization isn’t bad with anyone.  It’s fairly good all around.  But it’s not that exciting, and there’s so much plot in this issue that there isn’t much time for character moments anyway.  The only character who gets any time is the character who’s been chosen to be the focus of this arc, Jubilee.  Poor Jubilee has had it rough for a while.  After Generation X was canceled, she wandered in and out of comic book limbo for a while.  Then she lost her powers with Decimation.  Then she didn’t fair too well in the mediocre New Warriors relaunch, which coincidentally featured Paco Medina as its first artist.  And now, she’s getting turned into a vampire because the writers don’t really know what else to do with her.  It’s kind of silly, to say the least.  And yet even she doesn’t get that much character moment time in this book.  Already she’s changing under the influence of the virus.  So there’s the issue of the plot being inherently silly, since it’s not doing much more than joining in with the big vampire craze of the day, and there’s the issue of a lack of character moments.  Plus, why are the vampires after the mutants?  It’s not really clear if there’s any deeper reason behind this story other than the X-writers’ desire to see these two species fight.  Paco Medina’s art is rather good.  It’s become widescreen enough that it’s appropriately epic enough for this major storyline.  And it’s also just gotten technically much better in the last few years.  There are less ridiculously rounded noses and more realsitic proportions.  And a few of his faces, like Wolverine reporting in from the warehouse, look like they were drawn by Olivier Coipel.  Considering how amazing Coipel is, I’d call that high praise.  But the writing just isn’t that great.  It’s not bad, but at least for this issue, it’s not good enough to justify a new X-title and a big storyline like this.  I know that Dracula does have a bit of a history with the X-Men, but I just don’t feel like this is that great or relevant.  At least it doesn’t really spoil the ending of Second Coming.

Plot: 6.5      Art: 8.9      Dialogue: 6.2      Overall: 6.5

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