Returning from being lost in space, Jean Grey and the other time-displaced X-Men seek out a teammate, only to be faced with a shocking revelation. Meanwhile, Jimmy Hudson’s new codename is finally revealed!
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Nathan Stockman
Color Artist: Matt Milla
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover Artists: R.B. Silva and Rain Beredo
What You Need To Know:
Before getting lost in space, the time-displaced Original Five X-Men faced off against Poisons, more powerful and dangerous versions of symbiotes who, instead of bonding with a host, completely possesses them. Many of them were possessed by the Poisons, though Jean Grey was able to use her power to destroy several. One seems to have survived, though and has bonded with Jimmy Hudson with the intent to fully possess him.
What You Will Find Out:
After the events of the last arc – Cry Havok – Jimmy has left his team of X-Men behind and has gone to California. Much like what his father Wolverine would have done, Jimmy finds himself at a bar, nursing a beer, and finding trouble in the form of a few angry patrons who don’t like the fact that a red-haired bartender (both father and son clearly have a type) is hitting on Jimmy. Jimmy tries to defuse the fight by offering to buy a round of drinks for everyone in the bar, but the patrols there are clearly more interested in fighting Jimmy. Attacking a Wolverine never ends well for anyone – especially one who is bonding with a Poison symbiote. Jimmy poisons out – for lack of a better term – and attacks the bar patrons while confirming that he was the only one who wasn’t destroyed. He gets to the red-haired bartender who had been hitting on him, and she is the one who is able to make him snap out of his poison berserker rage and flee the bar.
He flees into the forest, as Wolverines tend to do, where he finds the O5 X-Men and Bloodstorm waiting for him. Jean Grey reiterates the thing that she’s always said to him – that she wants to help him and to come back home with them so that he doesn’t have to hurt and be afraid any longer. Jimmy insists that he’s no longer Jimmy and that he no longer has a home. Jean challenges that notion by using her powers and telling him that while he has changed, he’s different from other Poisons too. Jimmy – or Poison, as he insists he is called – attacks Jean, causing the other X-Men to join the fray against him. While Warren still believes in Jimmy, Bobby and Scott don’t. Jean wants to believe that she can get through to Poison, but Scott tells Hank to attack, and so Hank brings out his anti-Venom modules to take Poison down. He drops them at Poison’s command and Scott negotiates for Jean’s life. Poison moves to kill Jean, given that she’s killed so many of the other Poisons, but then he has a memory of Jean connecting with Jimmy, offering up her friendship. That shocks the part of Poison that is still Jimmy into control, and he drops Jean, mortified and confused.
Jimmy explains that he can’t help himself, that he feels as though there are two sets of thoughts in his head, both trying to kill the other. Bobby reiterates that they want to help, but that they’ll probably have to freeze him in ice while they figure out a solution. Unfortunately, they don’t have that chance because something sharp suddenly bursts through Jimmy’s chest. Behind him is his otherworldly brother, Daken, holding a katana, sent on Magneto’s orders to take care of Jimmy…
What Just Happened?:
Unfortunately, Marvel seems to have a problem with symbiotes in that once they rear their ultra-powerful and ugly heads, they tend to worm their way into stories in a way where they unpleasantly just take over. We’ve seen that happen with Venom in the past, and with Carnage to a smaller extent, and now it’s starting to happen with Poison. It’s not that it’s a bad idea or anything, and Cullen Bunn is a capable, smart writer who can make the storyline work, but the story is a little bit of a let-down after the amazing arc that Cry Havok ended up being. There’s also the fact that a Wolverine-type character with a Venom-type issue ends up smacking of mid-nineties fanfiction. I do have my faith in Bunn that he ends up taking this to a place that’s far better than it currently seems to have started out at. Hudson himself is well-written – just enough like Logan to remind you of his dad, but different enough that you see he’s his own person.
As is befitting a new story arc, the book has a new artist in Nathan Stockman. Stockman’s art is expressive and animated, easy to follow, and very clear. There’s almost a Saturday morning cartoon vibe to his art, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It works, given that we have a team that is made up of mostly teenagers. Some artists tend to take teenage characters and make them seem far too mature, an issue which Stockman wisely avoids. Matt Milla’s colors are a nice complement to Stockman’s art, keeping that cartoon vibe going with his palette and choices.
Final Thoughts: While not as dynamic as the last arc, the story promises to develop Jimmy Hudson further and differentiate him from Logan, Daken, Laura, and the other characters in the Wolverine family, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. This earns a definite recommendation if you’re a fan of Jimmy or the Poison symbiotes, but if you’re not, then this is a story you may want to skip.
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