To say this storyline is outstaying its welcome is an understatement.
The fact that Carey is making the simple “let’s collect our wayward teammates” idea into some sort of multi-issue space epic is completely unnecessary. It’s almost as if Carey is putting this out just to buy time before the Regenesis revamp next month. Either that or he feels like his long run on the title isn’t complete without a space adventure.
This book is frustratingly boring and the storyline frustratingly average, especially if you put it in context with Carey’s other work on the title, which has consistently been fascinating, entertaining and full of character. The major problem here is that nothing seems to happen. We mainly have characters standing around talking about escaping, the forgettable antagonist furthering his completely suicidal plans and Rogue and Frenzy trying to save the day. Logic seems to be lost as one powerful telekinetic and two masters of magnetism can’t do more than power up a few circuits. In fact, I’m sure they could have built a spaceship themselves and just get out of danger. Magneto created a base out of a asteroid for god’s sake. The minor Shi’Ar character who turns on Rogue is not a surprise and isn’t worthy as a semi-climax. Rachel’s psychic battle with the main villain seems redundant. And the fact that he wins, whilst still controlling a load of Shi’Ar, still doesn’t make him a viable threat. Plus, rolling out a super weapon in this late stage of the plot is just ridiculous, unless it carries on for another couple of issues.
Khoi Pham is on pencils this issue and it is a marked improvement from the last issue. He manages to deliver some nice one-page visuals, in the form of the space station falling into a star and the super weapons decimation of the hangar bay. The layouts are as average as the writing however and with nothing standing out. The character work is a vast improvement from last issue with everyone’s facial features in the correct proportion and their reactions are exactly what they should be from the dialogue provided. Frenzy’s face before passing out is a highlight and really brings the characters personality out. Also, the backgrounds in the Frenzy and super weapon scenes show a sense of scope that is desperately needed, as the sun is looming large. It’s just a shame that there are so few of those scenes. A weird moment in the art is that Havok’s fists always seem to be powered up and ready to fire, which doesn’t fit in with the early scenes when they are just discussing a way off the station. It just seems odd, unless Havok is just being prepared for the inevitable confrontations in the next issue.
The next story arc can’t come quick enough. It’s a shame. When this was announced there was an air of excitement around the idea of having a team consisting of Rogue, Frenzy, Magneto and Gambit on a rescue mission in space, but everything feels flat and the characterisations this issue are nowhere near Carey’s usual style. This seems to be the calm before the storm issue and it is wholly unsuccessful. Carey needs to either create a fantastic conclusion to make any of this worthwhile or just get it over with.
WRITING: 1.5 / ART: 3 / OVERALL: 2.25