X-Men Forever Alpha Review: Back to the ’90s

Hey, everyone… Here’s the second of my reviews. I will be handling the X-Men Forever series so here’s just a taste with the Alpha that was released this week. Hope you enjoy it.

X-Men Forever Alpha cover X-Men Forever Alpha
(preview | thread)
Writer: Chris Claremont
Pencilers: Jim Lee & Tom Grummett
Inkers: Scott Williams & Cory Hamscher

SPOILERS BELOW…

RECAP: Most of this issue was a reprint of ‘X-Men’ #1 through 3. For those that did not read it or do not remember the story, I am going recap those issues and then finish with the preview from the new series. The story opens with a space battle. A group of mutants is fleeing in a stolen shuttle looking for Magneto. They manage to destroy one of their pursuers just before they run into the Master of Magnetism himself. Magneto stops the fight and takes both the mutants and the astronauts to Asteroid M. His presence is detected and starts a panic among the world leaders.

Flash to the X-Men testing out their new Danger room. The have broken into three groups, two trying to break into the mansion and one group defending. The first group consisting of Rogue, Colossus, Iceman and Archangel try a frontal assault and are beaten back by the defenses of Scott, Jean, Beast, Forge and the Professor.

The group of Gambit, Betsy and Wolverine come in from below and are met with robots. Gambit breaks off and is taken out my a fake Jean. While the others are talking, Wolverine come up through the floor and ‘tags’ the Professor ending the exercise. Fury contacts them and warns of Magento’s return and the probable attack on his base by the leaders of the world if he is not dealt with.

On Asteroid M, the mutants swear their allegiance to Magneto and become the Acolytes. To defend his home, Magneto returns to the nuclear sub he once sank and retrieves the missiles. The X-Men Blue team responds but is unable to stop him although Wolverine does injure the man. Rogue attempts to talk sense into Magneto but is hit by missiles from Russian jets. Magneto detonates one of the nukes in the atmosphere above Russia sending an EMP that disables much of the country’s technology.

An injured Rogue wakes up in Genosha to find the Acolytes attacking. The other blue team members Wolverine, Gambit, Cyclops, Beast and Psylocke show up and the group defeats the Acolytes. Magneto shows up and saves his team taking the X-Men prisoner to his Asteroid in the process.

One of the Acolytes, Fabian Cortez, has been ‘healing’ Magneto and points out an inconsistency in his DNA. A livid Magneto returns to Earth and kidnaps Xavier and Moira McTaggert. He forces Moira to admit messing with his genes while he was under her care as a regressed child. He then makes her repeat the process on the captured X-Men making them switch to his side.

Meanwhile the world leaders have enacted the Magneto Protocols and launched a massive cannon into space to take out Asteroid M. Fury warns the remaining X-Men of the Gold team, Storm, Jean, Iceman, Forge, Archangel and Colossus of the threat. Despite knowing how futile it is, they launch an assault using a clear plastic glider and a combination of Storm’s winds and Jean’s TK they manage to ge to the base.

A fight breaks out between the two groups of X-Men but Beast immediately switches sides to help Storm’s people and Wolverine is absent. As the battle progresses, the other X-men slowly come to their senses. Wolverine arrives with Moira and she reveals that her process was a failure. As soon as the mutants use their powers their DNA switches back and nullifies the effect.

They reveal Fabian’s treachery, he has fled and activated the nukes on the base ahead of the plasma cannon attack. Magneto manages to hold the base together and disable the nukes. He and his remaining Acolytes chose to remain on the doomed asteroid as the X-Men flee to safety.

The new content shows Xavier meeting with Fury with the later explaining just how much distrust of mutants now exists. There are also some scenes of the X-Men in their down time particularly between Jean and Scott and Kitty and Wolverine and it ends in the rebirth of Mastermold. The final two pages shows a shocking death. Well it would be shocking had not the solicitations for August spoiled it.

MY TAKE: The new content seems to be pretty much classic Claremont. There is not enough here to really judge it completely but the voice of the characters and the style seems right. Not sure about the direction however. Claremont was touting this was what would have happened had he not left the title but the clues in the previous issues seem to be largely ignored. He is also making decisions that seem highly unlikely for the time period when the comic first came out.

Still I do not mind changes and I do not care if he remakes the team. I only care about good characterization and strong storytelling. There are glimmers of both here so I have hope that the series itself will be good. We’ll find out in a couple weeks whether Claremont still has the magic touch with the X-Men when he has complete and free reign to do as he wants.

Thanks for reading my review for Wolverine Files. I will be keeping to this format for the most part but please keep the comments coming and I will see everyone again tomorrow.

Facebook comments:

  1. (spoilers)

    Darn.

    Yeah, the story seems all right, but I’m afraid they’ve killed off Wolvie just because he’s become so over-exposed in recent times.

    And I was so looking forward to the old team, and the Wolverine as I loved him in the 80’s/90’s.

    I haven’t read up on this much, though the foreshadowing in the book itself is laid on kinda thick. What’s the news? Is he going to stay dead?

  2. Not certain, my guess is that he won’t. Very few characters stayed dead even during Claremont’s run. Still it seems like he’s trying to go for shock and internet buzz so who knows. It might be a way of getting people talking and reading.

  3. I really lost a lot of respect for Claremont. Mostly because his “Logan” was one that relied on stealth and tactics, he was the one who helped Logan become a three dimensional character. But in this issue he writers Logan as a moron who thinks he is immortal. I can see another writer portraying Logan like that, however Chris Clarmont always emphasized that Logan was more then aware of his mortality. At least he did in his early career in the late 80’s, now I don’t even recognize his writing or style anymore.

    Don’t mistake this as another fanboy complaining about his favorite character either. I have no problem with Claremont killing off Wolverine, however I imagined the creator of Wolverine giving us something else besides cheap shock value.

  4. Well it is possible he does have a plan for Wolverine. He indicated trying to go into his version of Logan’s history so his death might not be nearly as permanent as it seems. Not like he has not brought back a few characters in his time. We’ll see how it goes I guess. But as I stated before this definitely does not seem to be the stories he was planning to write nor the style of his earlier works so it does wane my enthusiasm.

  5. “Well it is possible he does have a plan for Wolverine. He indicated trying to go into his version of Logan’s history so his death might not be nearly as permanent as it seems.”
    I think your right. For years I’ve trolled around the internet and read fan press to learn about Claremont’s abandoned plans for the series, and one of those plans involved Wolverine dying of adamantium poisoning and being resurrected as an assassin by the Hand around Uncanny 300.

    He set up the adamantium poisoning thing beginning just before the mutant massacre with Logan and the team noticing it was taking longer than usual to heal from some injuries. He was also complaining about it during the Psylocke/Mandarin thing. Claremont might have decided to skip the whole drawn out disease thing, and just kill him, only to have him resurrected later.

    One problem that i see with this is that Mark Millar already used the hand resurrection/assassin thing a few years ago, so it does seem redundant now. I hope it’s somthing like that, becuase i like wolverine, and i’d like to see claremont writing him again.

    I also like professor X, but since Claremont wanted to get rid of him for years, I’m pretty confident the old man will be dead, in Claremont’s universe, by the end of the year, but probably a lot sooner.

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