When G. Willow Wilson came on board to write an “X-Men” story arc, it was reason to celebrate, considering how great her “Ms. Marvel” series has been over the past year. In reading her third issue with Roland Boschi, however, it’s become increasingly clear that — while “X-Men” #25 is paved with good intentions — it’s a comic that never quite feels finished.
The basic ideas that Wilson has for “X-Men” #25 feel solid. I like a story where promising leads turn out to be dead-ends, and that some big leaps of logic turn out to be a leap off a cliff rather than onto the intended target. At its core, almost nothing happens in “X-Men” #25. Aside from chasing down a lead that turns out to be for naught, this issue feels like it’s stalling before the big conclusion.
That’s frustrating, especially because there are little bits here and there which do work. Monet’s flashback to her childhood is easily the best part of the comic, even though it feels like it could be snipped out of “X-Men” #25 and dropped into any other comic that uses the character. Likewise, the big revelation at the end of this issue is good, but it feels like a deus ex machina, with the characters suddenly and randomly getting a telepathic reading from the land itself.
Boschi’s art, with inking assistance from Mark Pennington and Julien Hugonnard-Bert, is extremely erratic. There are some scenes that work well, like Jubilee confronting Medusa or Monet’s flashback. There, characters are clean and well-defined, and there’s a good panel-to-panel progression. Whenever the characters are underground, though, the pages range from adequate to a mess. When Monet has pieces of the ceiling fall down upon her, the sequence simply doesn’t work, as it’s hard to tell if she’s leaping, flying or something entirely different. In particular, the middle image makes her look like a contortionist, with Monet suddenly rotating almost 180 degrees while her legs are splayed out further than a professional gymnast’s. Lee Loughridge’s shades of purple don’t help matters, with Monet and the other characters coming across as dark shapes on a dark background.
“X-Men” #25 should have been a reason to celebrate but, instead, this story continues to limp along with less energy each issue. It’s a real shame, because Wilson’s basic ideas are both good and the best thing about the comic. I want to like this more than I do but, somewhere between idea and execution, nothing has quite worked.