The Scarlet Witch suffered a second nervous breakdown which resulted in her returning the Earth to its original state with her reality altering powers. While things seem to have shifted back to normal for regular people and superheroes. Things are everything but normal for mutants. What exactly did the Witch do to her own mutant kind?
After learning that mutants now number in the hundreds, when originally they were in the millions, Cyclops turns the X-Men's school into a haven for mutants. Unfortunately, the US government steps in with plans of their own, and while this is going on, anti-mutant groups have become more aggressive than ever. -summary
Decimation is the aftermath to the House of M storyline. The story follows the mutant race after the Scarlet Witch removes their powers with her reality-altering ability, severely damaging the race and bringing them very close to extinction, this event is now referred to as "M-Day". The mutant community is in complete shambles, and those who have kept their powers after M-Day either left to the X-Men for protection, or are still trying to pass as humans with very little success. The title "198" happens to supposedly be the number of mutants who retained their powers. Written by David Hine, The 198 is a decent enough side story to the Decimation arc. This TPB collects The 198, 1 - 5.
Hine pens another entertaining tale although it isn't groundbreaking. The plot follows X-Men members Cyclops, Emma Frost, Kitty Pryde, and Beast, with the assistance of O.N.E. (Office of National Emergency) liaison and ally Valerie Cooper, as they attempt to keep the mutants inside of estate grounds. The mutants originally left to the estate due to Cyclops stating it was a safe haven, but when the government gets involved, they begin to complicate the situation through various means of control. In other words, this utopia becomes an obvious prison, and with certain hostile mutants amongst the ranks such as Fever-Pitch, Erg, Toad, Arclight. and even Scalphunter, to include the former mutant-hunting Sentinels are present as a show of force, it's only a matter of time before this powder keg explodes.
Although the entire story was building up to the inevitable fight; it was the character interactions and discussing of shady politics that held my interest. It's apparent that the government finally sees the mutant threat is close to an end, and even some of the X-Men's tempers are flaring, especially Kitty Pryde, because their own home ground is beginning to feel like a concentration camp. I also liked Hine's small taste of the outside world, as a young mutant girl is brutally attacked by a group of mutant-haters, and other mutants who can't pass as being human were publicly embarrassed. I seen it done much better, but he can cause some readers to sympathize with the mutants.
The main problem I have with this story besides being real predictable, is that it mainly feels like an excuse for a big brawl, and to push future story elements by using a single character with an interesting ability. This character goes by the name of Johnny Dee, and his ability is to create voodoo dolls in a very weird way, and he can easily kill people with these things as well as control their actions. He plays a significant role here, but he feels too much like a plot device, in a story that feels as if it could have been a lot better had it focused on those dirty, behind-the-scene tactics used against the mutants.
Jim Muniz artwork has moments of being very good, and the bright color work by Matt Milla helps it look better. There's one moment inside of a volcano that looks really nice, and here you see a character horribly killed after losing his powers on M-Day. Some of the action panels are decent, with another brutal death later in the book, plus there are some effort in the backgrounds. There's really nothing bad to look at here.
The final pages consist of a very fun one shot title to read, which is called the 198 Files - Handbook. This is a government log on the mutants who have retained their powers. There's a short bio as well as a danger level for the mutants, which ranks them from Low - Extreme. And based upon earlier stories I believe they got about 80% of them right; with Omega-Level mutants such as Exodus and Franklin Richards rated as Extreme, but I think Wolverine and Sabretooth were too highly rated as Extreme level. They shouldn't be on the same level as either Exodus, Jamie Braddock, or even Emma Frost. In any case, this section is still a lot of fun to read. In closing, this book really isn't essential nor is it a good stand alone title. I only recommend it to serious completest.
Pros: - Decent story with some moments
Cons: - Could have been a lot better, predictable
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