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X-Men: Die By The Sword #5 Review

by  in Comic News Comment
X-Men: Die By The Sword #5 Review

Okay, so this last issue was definitely bad.

I just may differ with others on why it was bad.

Spoilers ahead!

First off, there were about four major plot changes in this issue…

1. Roma dies

2. Sage is used to store Roma’s knowledge of the Omniverse (which is what they’re calling the alternate realities that the Captain Britain Corps defend and that the Exiles travel through).

3. Longshot and Dazzler go back to Earth as a couple

4. The Captain Britain Corps reform under Albion’s leadership

and a few minor plot changes…

5. Thunderbird and Nocturne return to the Exiles

6. The Fury Prime is (maybe?) destroyed

7. Psylocke decides to stay with the Exiles

8. Captain Britain is kinda sorta, sorta kinda exiled to Earth by the remaining Captain Britain Corps.

Well, as you might imagine, when you have THAT much plot going on in a single 22-page comic book, things are going to get short shrift. In this instance, basically ALL of them get short shrift, and that really is the end all and be all of this issue – it’s biggest problem is that it quite simply cannot even remotely do all these plots justice, so instead, it just does them all injustice.

And the result is not pretty.

That being said, most of these changes are really not that big of a deal.

1. Roma dying – Are there really Roma fans out there? No, right? So no big loss there.

2. Sage storing Roma’s knowledge – this is actually a plot point that just flat out makes SENSE. Roma is dying – her father, Merlyn, is about to steal her power, so instead, she decides to transfer her knowledge to Sage. Now of course, people may howl at the idea that writer Chris Claremont gave Sage, who is a pet character of his, the power of a God, but I think that is an unfair complaint, as basically, what Claremont is doing here is the same thing Abnett and Lanning did with Nova – a powerful being is about to be destroyed, so transfers all its knowledge to another person, almost driving the person mad – heck, didn’t that also happen in Star Trek III, to a lesser degree (Spock imprinting his mind on McCoy)?

It seems like a pretty basic plot idea.

In addition, isn’t Sage’s power basically that she CAN store information? So wouldn’t she actually be the absolute perfect pick for such a decision? In addition, the fact that now Sage has knowledge of the Omniverse would seem to be a very nice set-up for the New Exiles ongoing series.

So, really, not a big deal.

3. Longshot and Dazzler getting together – how is THIS even a big deal? I mean, it was written poorly, as they barely have five panels together before deciding to go back to Earth together, but the basic idea is extremely non-committal. They practically say IN the comic – “Yeah, I don’t know if this will work out.”

So all this is doing is simply writing two characters off that Claremont is not using (and Paul Cornell certainly would not be using). It’s just a “write them into limbo” thing. And the situation, with the non-committal nature of the departure, can EASILY be gotten rid of by the next writer who wants to use Dazzler.

Ed Brubaker wants her on Uncanny X-Men? Easy – “It didn’t work out.” Claremont has them say IN THE COMIC that they are unsure if it will work – so really, not a big deal, and certainly not Claremont trying to screw with other writers. If Claremont had some pattern of trying to hurt other writers, perhaps I would be open to the idea, but the OPPOSITE seems to be the case, the guy has constantly gone out of his way to EASE continuity with other writers (just recently, Juggernaut at the end of New Excalibur, but before that, Storm and Cannonball in Uncanny X-Men and Beast in X-Treme X-Men, among other examples).

So hate the writing between the two (as it was bad).

Hate them ending up together.

But don’t hate Claremont “screwing over other writers,” because I don’t think that’s the case at all.

4. Albion reforming the Captain Britain Corps – Okay, this one is a big deal, I guess, and pretty darn silly at that – all I can hope here is that a later writer will just ignore it – because it really did not make any sense. Sadly, I bet they show up in New Exiles.

No one really cares about 5 and 7, right?

6. Fury Prime being destroyed – boy, was that a silly scene, no? Blink just goes and beats him. In, like, a panel.

Blink.

It was basically, “Oh crap, we need to wrap this up, so let’s see…hmmm….okay…Blink defeats him!”

But at the end, he sorta survives – so no biggie.

But really – BLINK?!

8. Captain Britain is exiled – I was more put off by the fact that Claremont never addresses that Captain Britain was practically DEAD a few issues ago! And now he’s totally fine.

His exile was actually a cute plot point – “Earth is too damn scary – we need you to stay there and guard it.”

Juan Santacruz is back on art this issue, and it looks rushed once again, but not as much as previous issues, so the art was definitely improved.

In addition, as bad as this issue (and this series) has been, I just find it too difficult to believe that anyone (Claremont or ANY writer) could have legitimately planned this mini-series to go this way. This crossover REEKS with editorial interference – and I do not mean that in some “the editors are trying to screw over Claremont!” way, just that there appears to have been a number of changes in direction with the series (I am pretty sure they originally mentioned this as an inter-title crossover, instead of a separate mini-series), and the end result is a rushed mess.

Based on that, there is still some hope for New Exiles – although having a rushed mess as a lead-in is not exactly promising, now is it?

Not Recommended.

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