Usually I try to balance out my reviews better than just reviewing two X-Men comics, especially on a week like this where there is plenty to talk about, but X-Men Blue 5 has a couple things I wanted to touch on, some good and some not quite so good. Namely, this issue marks the return of an X-Men villain not seen since 2011 as far as I know. But I’m getting ahead of myself, so let’s talk about X-Men Blue 5. There will be spoilers.
Written by Cullen Bunn, this issue picks up where the last issue left off. A team of mutants calling themselves the Marauders met up with the teenaged O5 and Jimmy Hudson in a small town bar. The Marauders happen to all be from the Ultimate Universe, and they want Jimmy to join them. This issue kicks off with a fight scene that lasts for most of the comic, although there’s more than enough exposition to balance the pacing out. The fight is fun and it makes great use of powers on both sides of the fight, like Quicksilver causing problems until Iceman summons a bunch of ice golems and freezes Quicksilver’s feet to the floor. Cyclops shows off his precise aiming with his eye beams. Meanwhile, the Marauders have a young lady who can control metal, a bird-like mutant to fight Angel with, and Ultimate Armor for some brute force.
Meanwhile, Jean Grey uses her telepathy to figure out what’s going on, and stumbles upon who’s really behind the Marauders. Miss Sinister, who last appeared in 2011’s X-23 6 as far as I know, found the Ultimate X-Men shortly after they landed in the main universe and immediately began her studies. The conversation between Jean and Sinister is an interesting one, hinting at Sinister’s intentions while keeping her vague. Miss Sinister’s involvement is awesome, and the Marauders seem interesting for the most part. It makes for an overall good comic that’s balanced between a fun action scene and intrigue.
That said, the last two issues fail to sell me on Jimmy as a character. This issue reveals that he has some sort of control over his claws and what they’re made of, suggesting some sort of morphing powers, but he just seems like low rent Wolverine. In my review of the previous issue, I suggested that either Laura Kinney (who has previous experience with the O5), or Daken (I’m not a fan, but he does have loyal fans aching to see him regularly appear somewhere) would be more interesting team members. Considering they both have experience with Miss Sinister, I’m even more sold on that idea now than I was then. I wouldn’t go so far to say that Jimmy is turning me off of this book (Old Man Logan would since he’s already on way too many teams), but I’d much prefer either Laura or Daken. Laura already fits well with the team since she’s shared two volumes of All-New X-Men with them, and Daken would give them a morally questionable character who could add extra tension to everything. Cullen Bunn is usually great with that kind of tension.
The art duties are shared by Julian Lopez and Cory Smith. I’m not entirely sure which artist draws which pages, but their styles are similar enough that it’s not a problem. They both do a good job. The opening panel of Jimmy charging toward the Marauders, with metal objects floating in the air, is a great image. The following spread is a chaotic scene with every character moving around, firing energy beams and ice balls at each other, and Quicksilver dashing all over the place. Meanwhile Jean is shielding the cop and some civilians with a telekinetic bubble behind a table. The fight scene flows well through the rest of the comic, with a consistent sense of progress from panel to panel. Facial expressions do a great job of conveying emotions, like Jean Grey’s surprise when she first contacts Miss Sinister, Sinister’s proud smile as she explains her discoveries, and Magneto’s thoughtful glance when he meets Jimmy. The environments are also well detailed, whether it’s the bar that’s slowly being destroyed over the course of the fight, the snowy landscape outside, or Magneto’s well-constructed base of operations. Irma Kniivila’s colouring is great. The comic is bright and colourful throughout.
What would otherwise be a great comic is brought down a bit by the fact that Jimmy Hudson just isn’t that interesting of a character. Sure, he’s connected directly with Miss Sinister’s Marauders, but there are other Wolverine related characters who are both more interesting and are connected to Miss Sinister herself. That and the fact that Jimmy’s claws don’t need to be metal removes his weakness to the Marauder girl who controls metal. This is still a good comic mind you, with a lot of story potential with Miss Sinister going forward. I still recommend this to fans of the original 5 X-men, and fans of the last Ultimate X-Men series should check this out as well.