X-Men Blue #36
Jean Grey gathers the original five, time-displaced X-Men at Cape Citadel, the place where the X-Men first came together, and a place that has changed as much as these five have over the years. While none of the X-Men seem all that keen on going back to their native timeline, they realize it’s a thing they have to do, but before they do it, Jean wants to tie up some loose ends. What follows is a brief montage scene of the X-Men fighting Mojo and X-Babies, a particularly emotional scene with Cyclops saying good-bye to his father, and a scene where the X-Men bring in Polaris and Danger to train the Raksha in Madripoor so that they can continue to fight the good fight there. Beast and Gazing Nightshade say a particularly sad good-bye and then the X-Men go back to the X-Mansion, where they have brought in many of the mutants affected by the Mothervine so that they can be taught to deal with their new powers. Kitty tells Jean and Scott that it’s nice to see them together again, but they both insist that they aren’t together as Bloodstorm looks at them wistfully. She has, after all, fallen in love with Scott, but Hank explains that nothing will ever get between the two of them for very long.
Later, inside the Mansion, Jean tries saying good-bye to Pickles the Bamf. When she tells him she has some unfinished business to take care of, he teleports her to another part of Central Park, where Cyclops is gazing off in the distance. They have a brief discussion about their psychic rapport – which seemed as though it had gone away, though they both feel as though it’s returned. Jean tells Scott that when it comes to the two of them, thinking too much gets them nowhere, and they kiss, because it’s Scott Summers and Jean Grey and of course they do. In the bushes, Sebastian Shaw is watching them, ready to strike out at them to get back at Magneto, but unfortunately for him, Poison is right nearby, and he captures Shaw, telling him that they’re going to let Jean and Scott have their moment because they deserve it.
The X-Men meet around the time machine that will send them home, and Hank says that the older Beast has been modifying it so that there are no complications when they arrive home, though Bobby quips that there are always complications. Speaking of complications, Angel asks about his wings, the new memories and skills they’ve acquired – they can’t really go home with all of those things intact. Scott says that they’re surrounded by psychics, scientists, and mystics, and that they’ll figure it out, but before they can discuss that any deeper, there’s breaking news out of Washington DC that Magneto goodbye new Brotherhood are attacking an anti-mutant demonstration. Jean says that he’s not their responsibility and that there are other X-Men to handle the situation, but she seems hesitant and doubtful. Scott, calling her boss, tells her it’s her decision. Jean says that they’re definitely going home – that's not up to them, and the decision has been made – but they can hang out for just a bit longer and deal with Magneto. With that, the original five X-Men leap into action against their very first enemy.
For a book that was, as Cullen Bunn said on the letters page, only meant to last eighteen issues, thirty-six issues are not a bad run. While there have been some uneven moments in the book, these last couple of short arcs have been pretty great, and this last issue is definitely very touching and well-written. It’s clear that Bunn is wrapping up all of the plot threads he had set up, but it also feels as though he could have kept going with these characters, and one wonders what else he would have done with these original five X-Men. One of the most touching scenes in the whole book is Scott saying goodbye to his father, and it’s wonderful to see Christopher Summers get the sort of closure with his son that he never thought he would get, though heartbreaking as well because Scott is likely never to remember any of this when he returns to his place in the timeline. The conversation between Beast and Gazing Nightshade is lovely, especially because it serves as a reminder that Beast – the adult Beast- is a good man, despite the fact that he’s done some awful things in recent times. Scott and Jean finally kiss and come back together, but that was a thing that was always going to happen. Even death can never truly separate these two.
There are still a couple of seeds that Bunn plants that makes one worry for the future of these characters though, such as Bobby’s quip about what the X-Men would do without him. We’ve seen in future flashes that he’s okay, but the fun-loving character is almost always the first one to have something terrible happen to them, and this book does dive straight into the current Extermination event. One hopes that Bobby will make it out alive. Though it’s tough to tell if we’ll ever see more of the Raksha or the Mothervine mutants, these are some interesting plotlines that should definitely be picked up down the road, though it’s unfortunate that other plotlines – like Hank’s dabbling in magic – is something that we will likely never see more of again. A magical Beast was a very new, interesting direction to take the science-minded character in. There’s also the unanswered question of what will become of Bloodstorm – will she stick around in a world where there’s already a Storm, or will she try to make her way home as well now that her team is gone?
Everything good that can be said about Marcus To’s art has already been said – he draws a clean, easy, beautiful book, and I hope Marvel realizes this and doesn’t waste his talents. The spread with the X-Men fighting the X-Babies is great, and the scene with Beast and Gazing Nightshade is appropriately wistful and intimate. Scott and Jean’s kiss is a beautiful moment, given importance, but not overplayed, and To draws a great Poison. Matt Milla again brings his A-game to the proceedings with his colors – they’re bright, smooth, and leap off the page.
X-Men Blue ends on a high-note, gracefully allowing the X-Men to tie up their loose ends before heading into the Extermination event. It's a beautifully written, emotional final issue, one that really feels like the end of an era. No matter your thoughts on the time-displaced X-Men, this is a story worth checking out.
X-Men Blue #36: The End
- Writing - 9/109/10
- Storyline - 8/108/10
- Art - 9/109/10
- Color - 9/109/10
- Cover Art - 7/107/10
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