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Tuesday, June 10, 2014
The all-women team of X-Men are still recovering from the events of Battle of the Atom (reviewed here) when they are forced to deal with a Sisterhood of female adversaries led by the sentient bacterium Arkea. If only that straightforward synopsis reflected the story contained within this volume…
One of the earliest forms of life on Earth, Arkea spent billions of years roaming the cosmos before returning home onboard a series of meteors, which make planetfall at various locations across the globe. Initially defeated after her first confrontation with the X-Men, she is soon revived by the alliance of a new version of Lady Deathstrike downloaded into the mind of a spoilt little rich girl and Amora the Asgardian Enchantress. They are soon joined by Daredevil adversary Typhoid Mary, a back-from-the-grave Selene and a resurrected Madelyne Pryor.
That’s a lot of characters being brought back from the dead in one story, and it’s getting harder to overlook the transitory nature of death in the Marvel Universe. Nobody stays dead for long anymore, and even the characters themselves are starting to notice that particular trend, but then one of the aims of this arc seems to be the resurrection of some of the MU’s long-deceased characters for the sole reason of setting them up for future storylines.
That aside, there’s a lot to recommend in this volume, but it loses some of what made the first collection so strong. The cast of characters is too large to give everybody decent screen time, and artist Terry Dodson fails to do enough to distinguish between some of the protagonists, which makes for confusing reading.
Arkea is a lacklustre opponent, and it would probably have been better to focus on the other members of the Sisterhood instead of bringing back this one-note foe. The likes of Madelyne Pryor and Selene have very little to do, and even the new Deathstrike comes across as a wasted opportunity.
Writer Brian Wood is a fantastic comics talent, and his Viking series Northlanders is one of the stand-out books of recent years, but here he seems to be going through the motions of what he thinks an X-Men book should be. Whether he has a long-term game plan for the series is uncertain, but one would certainly hope that the Sisterhood are going to become more of a threat to the team in the future.
Not a total disaster by any means, but not the best X-book on the marketplace, which is in itself surprising given Wood’s track record. Fans have been clamouring for a female-centric X-title for years, and whereas this book offers just that, it isn’t up to the high standard one might have hoped for.