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 mutantkind? -summary
Marvel's House of M storyline took little time to shake the very foundation of the Marvel universe. It did exactly what a big event was suppose to do. The status quo went through a rough revamping and along the way we saw the birth of new stories for older characters. New X-Men: Childhood's End had been born from the ashes and it would make a pretty strong run up until X-Men: Messiah Complex. Now there's a few things that must be pointed out in regards to this New X-Men title; first of all it has nothing to do with Grant Morrison's New X-Men run, since these books were written by Craig Kyle and Chris Yost. Second, it's the direct continuation to New X-Men: Academy X collecting New X-Men 20-23. Third and finally, the story takes place directly after House of M, also along with and even after Decimation. It would be a good idea to read Decimation: X-Men - The Day After first, but you can get along well should you come into this book before it.
The story follows the final pages of House of M, when Emma Frost rushes to the mansion to see young mutants dropping like flies. It's then revealed that the Scarlet Witch has somehow erased the mutant gene, thus, turning mutants into normal people. Frost searches even deeper, to learn that the Witch's effect on the mutants happens to be global. In only seconds the mutant population has dropped from millions to hundreds.
Frost immediately fears the worst; she takes drastic action believing the X-Men have to do something, because it's only a matter of time before their enemies come for them. Meanwhile, an enemy from their past, Reverend William Stryker appears on national television and believes the assault on mutankind is God's will, thus encouraging genocide on TV. He then begins to assemble the newest incarnation of his Christian Fundamentalist called The Purifiers.
If there's anything these issues do very well, it's how the build up is handled. The situation is indeed very serious, and we get to see the New X-Men's point of view on how just greatly the Scarlet Witch effected them. The X-Mansion is in total disarray, and the children are punching walls in total rage and confusion. Some are happy to find themselves "normal" while others who cannot pass as human are very upset to learn they're still mutants.
Kyle and Yost play with several subplots here, such as Wolverine bringing X-23 back to the mansion, with Emma Frost objecting due to her inner bloodlust. However, the highlight is definitely William Stryker, as he easily ranks very high as one of the X-Men's greatest enemies. He truly believes that the mutant race were created by Satan, and it's his duty to remove them from God's Earth. I will admit that he has been written much better in the past by Chris Claremont, but Kyle and Yost work with him well enough planting the seeds as a serious threat. Especially when the final page comes around capping off an explosive ending.
Surprisingly, the books only real problem is the attempt towards developing the characters. The writers have too many characters to play with, and they try to give them all their due. Unfortunately, many of them feel either a bit too whiny, too macho, or too dumb. There's great potential here for some depth, but they feel way too cliche at this point. It also doesn't help that the subplot used to develop them isn't very interesting, despite the homages paid to past X-Men stories with Fall of the Mutants and Inferno being most notable.
Mark Brooks artwork has always been fairly enjoyable for me. He doe a great job with his young looking character designs, as the New X-Men look the ages they're behaving. The designs are well drawn and aren't very glossy. The only issue I have here is Emma Frost, she looks way too young here to the point where she can pass as one of the students; she doesn't look much different at all from X-23, Surge, or Dust. The little bit of action to be found here really isn't all that good either, but the action never seemed to be the book's focal point. The dialog bubbles and panels are easy enough to follow.
In closing, the only issues I can imagine bothering some people is that more of the well known X-Men are MIA at this point, with only Wolverine, Cyclops, and Frost making small appearances. Along with the lack of some real action. This book is more story and character driven, and for me that's rarely a problem if it's done right. This is a pretty good place for casual fans to check this team out, and if you're a fan of the X-Men's neck of the woods then give this a look.
-Solid story and intro of things to come
-Very light on the action, not all of the story is very good.
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