The vision or dream of Utopia itself apart from a fleeting one, is truly ambitious. But to collect several issues of Dark Avengers and Uncanny X-men in the hopes of establishing coherence in one continuous read is definitely no easy feat either.
This graphic novel collects Uncanny X-men #513-#514; Dark Avengers #7-8; Dark X-Men The Beginning: #1-3; X-Men Legacy #226-#227; Dark X-men: The Confession and material from Dark Reign: The Cabal. This collection released last year 2010 and written by Matt Fraction brings together the 2 most popular superhero teams of the Marvel universe, namely The Avengers and The X-men. But for uninitiated readers who will dive into this seeking current and updated clarification, they may be confused as the heroes they knew have taken not only a dive but a 180 degree turn.
Here’s the lowdown.
At this point in the story, the Avengers have disassembled and Tony Stark, aka. Iron Man has been deposed from leading the Avengers following his debacle in handling events concerning the Skrull infiltration of superheroes in the Marvel event, Secret Invasion, which if I may add was brilliantly conceived by Brian Bendis. The current hero of this tale ironically became Norman Osborn, aka. Green Goblin. Yes, the Spider Man villain killed the Skrull Queen and became a hero. Fast forward, he now leads the Avengers and is the darling of the US govt in all things “mutant”. To this he has re-shaped the Avengers and used the symbolism that our heroes represent and warped it into his own. In replacement of Iron Man, he took Stark technology, crafted himself an armor and calls himself Iron Patriot. He then hired Daredevil nemesis, Bullseye, and had him become Hawkeye. Venom was recruited to take the place of Peter Parker, aka. Spider Man while Daken, Wolverine’s son became the adamantium wielding hero and Dr. Karla Sofen who has the powers of flight, intangibility and energy blasts, became Ms. Marvel. Add to this roster the presence of the godlike superhero but psychotic Sentry and Ares the God of War and you have the New Avengers.
Onto our favorite Mutants this time, Scott Summers aka. Cyclops is now the leader of the X-men with Storm now based in Wakanda and living the life of queen and wife to Black Panther. Former villainess and now teacher, Emma Frost, aka. The White Queen is now with the X-men and 2nd in command in addition to being current love of Cyclops’s life. Unfortunately Beast and Professor Charles Xavier have been captured by Osborn and is currently being forced to take part in an experiment to drain mutants of their powers to feed his other team member of the Dark Avengers, Michael Pointer, aka. Weapon Omega. The experiment is funded by Osborn and headed by (don’t hold your breath), Beast or should I say Dark Beast as he is an evil Dr. McCoy from another timeline. (now scratch your head and say, Huh?)
Our compilation opens with riots in San Francisco being led by Simon Trask. Yes, we remember him from Sentinel days of early X-men and has been causing a lot of anti-mutant sentiment around the area. Cyclops although trying his best to contain the incident by having other X-men members take care of it has not been successful and was branded as “incapable” by the media to govern and police mutantkind. On top of that Osborn has just come in from New York, in line with the rumors that San Francisco is about to be “federalized”. Needless to say Osborn has his Dark Avengers in tow and is encroaching upon X-men territory. The clash between two teams ensues as it is unavoidable and leads to both betrayal and deception on Emma Frost’s part to form her own team of X-men to handle the rising threat of anti-mutant sentiment and superhero withdrawal from the populace.
With the X-men team divided and Osborn’s Dark Avengers looking united and certainly a force to be reckoned, how can resolution be achieved? Of course, with utmost planning and some trust along the way.
My friend lent me this compilation and promised me all out action. Indeed I was and am happy for it. Just like my other favorite Marvel event, Siege, this compilation was indeed energy blasting-knuckle punch action all the way, with more intricate power playing and secret hiding along the way for proper garnishing. Not everything is what it seems in his story and although you would applaud Scott Summers’ plan after reading, you may just applaud Emma Frost’s nerve and will as well when you get to the end. Betrayal is trust, is certainly a operative word phrase in this storyline.
But alas the Utopia storyline itself is only a little half into the entire book and others are more side stories that we never got to see or as other readers complained, need not see as it was pointless and didn’t really drive the narrative forward. True, the back stories about the X-men villain, Mimic, and how he got drafted to join Osborne as well as Raven Darkholme, aka. Mystique, plus Cloak and Dagger as well as Daken and how Emma convinced Namor to join her cause as the ace up her sleeve may be well and good and certainly gives readers a deeper look. But frankly I never liked Namor and so skipped his story. Don’t necessarily see the bond that he and Emma have, much less the “he smells like fish” reference in Cabal is equally off putting for me. Would you sleep with a superhero who smells like that? LOL!
Ok digressing but all in all it was an ok read. I still rank Civil War, Secret Invasion and Siege as my favorite all time Marvel crisis stories and hoping for a good one when the current Fear Itself storyline is compiled. Here’s to a good attempt Matt Fraction but here’s to more Brian Bendis for me.