As promised in last issue’s promotion, we are given a Rogue-free issue this time around. Now don’t all celebrate at once as it still suffers from a few problems. But it is refreshing to have a character like Frenzy get a turn in the spotlight.
It would seem that Christos Gage is one of the first writers to deal with the aftermath of AVX #5 and if you didn’t really want to know the agenda of the “Phoenix Five” before you read the next issue of that event then you will get a bit of spoiler with this issue. However it is probably the most interesting aspect of the whole issue and it is only focused on for a brief moment near the beginning. This isn’t to say that the rest of the issue is bad, it is just not enthralling as the idea of what Cyclops has planned now he has gained a significant power boost.
From the outset of the issue it is clear that the X-Men are in a position of power and the fact that they have outlawed war is a testament to the might they now possess. But even with major gestures like dissolving all the problems Narobia faces, there is still clean-up to be done. That is where Frenzy comes in as she is tasked to “babysit” the nation for six hours. Now the set up is entertaining, having a mutant who hates humans look after them brings drama instantly. However, Gage doesn’t really utilize this predictable path as he highlights Frenzy’s desire to be a hero and tries to get into her head. This is the only aspect of the script that works, he has a grasp on who Frenzy is and quite frankly she is entertaining.
Gage’s script tries to give Frenzy the whole gamut of human emotions, but it all feels contrived. The events that lead to her expressing herself are too recognizably constructed. With events surrounding a young girl mirroring Frenzy’s troubled past. This is where the flashbacks come in and lazily depict a scenario where the outcome can be predicted instantly. Of course, this is a done-in-one issue about Frenzy and how she goes through an emotional realization, but it is nothing you haven’t seen before. The narrative just comes off tired and dull, even if Gage writes a great Frenzy.
David Baldeon is back with this issue and his slightly cartoony style has been toned done as he delivers an expressive Frenzy. Baldeon really solidifies each of her emotions and enhances the script to no end. A shame then that the rest of the characters in the book don’t have the same amount of emotional range. But add to that the uninspired backgrounds and panel layouts and overall, the book looks as uninspired as the narrative. Even the intended shocking revelation of Frenzy’s flashback seems to have no real visual impact at all.
So, even though we are blessed to have a Rogue-free comic it is still evident that Gage is having problems o this title. On the one hand Frenzy has a great voice in his hands, but on the other we are given a familiar and lazy narrative. The art echoes this with Frenzy standing out but the rest of the milieu lacking. You could argue this is about Frenzy, so with her being handled well then there isn’t a problem. But she at least needs something interesting to do even if she sounds and looks great. This issue is the definition of filler as the book gears up to go into the next chapter of the AVX event.