X-Men #12 Review & Spoilers (Marvel Comic Book – 2014)

When Brian Wood’s all-female X-Men comic book series launched last year, I was quick to applaud the book as being fresh, fun and on it’s way to being the best X-Men title published by Marvel Comics. To my disappointment, things quickly went astray and a once-promising comic book has fizzled into mediocrity. X-Men #12 continues the downward spiral and is unfortunately the worst issue of the series to date…

X-Men #12 Cover March 2014 Issue Brian Wood

X-Men #12 brings the Arkea/Sisterhood story that’s been brewing since X-Men #1 to a close in a wholly disappointing fashion. At the end of the previous issue the new Lady Deathstrike, Ana Cortes, randomly decided to kill herself rather than being further used by Arkea. This seems like a pretty dramatic and major event, but it’s treated as nothing in this issue, as Arkea simply transferred Lady Deathstrike’s psyche into herself off-panel.

A page or two later, we see a newly-resurrected Madelyne Pryor, who was brought back to life (presumably by the Enchantress) off-panel. Considering what a pivotal character Madelyne Pryor is in X-Men history, it feels like an event such as her revival should be handled with a lot of hype and reverence–not just as a throwaway incident that occurs off-page.

Storm’s X-Men team flies over Arkea’s base and goes on the attack against the Sisterhood. Monet flies through the building and instantly takes out the Enchantress (which I was actually okay with, as it gives Monet some much-needed credibility and her biggest victory ever in the Marvel Universe). Psylocke takes down Typhoid Mary in another good fight as well. Unfortunately, it’s all downhill from here.

What does Storm say when she first comes face-to-face with the ridiculously powerful and long thought-dead Selene and Madelyne Pryor? “Maddie. Selene. This is… I don’t know what this is.” Wow, that’s some dramatic stuff, Brian Wood! I know Brian Wood can write terrific dialogue, but this was not it.

Storm asserts that she’s willing to let Madelyne Pryor and Selene walk away scot-free (What?!), and the duo quickly abandon Arkea. If you take into consideration the damage those characters caused in “Inferno” and “Necrosha”, it’s extremely difficult to believe that Arkea is considered the greatest threat out of these three, and it feels downright irresponsible to let Madelyne Pryor and Selene go free. Maybe Rachel Grey is right and Storm really isn’t fit to lead this team!

Monet instantly subdues Arkea, and Karima shows up and shoots Arkea in the head with a “self-guided psychic microbial smart bomb”. They announce that Arkea has been terminated (wow, that was easy!). Karima then reveals that she’s leaving the X-Men to take a job working with Sabra. Karima flies away with her new teammates and Rachel Grey declares “*Sigh* Well done, Karima” and the story arc is over (no, really).

But wait! There’s more! The backup story continues the tale of Jubilee and the Jean Grey School students versus some Arkea-controlled Sentinels at the beach. The shocking cliffhanger of the previous issue was Jubilee disappearing into her vampire mist and the students being unable to locate her. The first page of the story this time out shows Jubilee popping out of the mist safe and sound and attacking a Sentinel. Yes, that’s the real resolution to last month’s twist ending. Wow. Just wow.

Quentin Quire uses his powers to force the Arkea-Sentinels to blow each other up, Mercury and Bling decide to go on a proper date (which was actually rather sweet), and Jubilee oodles Hellion’s short shorts before asserting that the main X-Men team can handle Arkea Prime on their own (which we know to be true, having already seen Arkea Prime die earlier in the issue). End issue (thankfully).

Overall: I’m still a fan of Brian Wood and all of the characters that he’s featuring in this Marvel NOW X-Men series, but I honestly don’t know that I’m an advocate of this series itself anymore. Despite taking the bulk of the first twelve issues to tell this Arkea story, this mess of an arc ends up somehow feeling both rushed and never-ending.

It seems like this whole long, drawn-out story was contrived for the purpose of bringing Selene and Madelyne Pryor back to life–but if that was the true goal, there are a multitude of stories that Wood could have told that would have ultimately been more fulfilling and interesting than what we got here. I’ll keep reading this book because I love Monet and Jubilee, but if you’re thinking about giving X-Men #12 a try, I absolutely can’t recommend it. It’s some of Brian Wood’s worst work at Marvel.

GRADE: D+

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