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X-Men: Messiah Complex Paperback – November 12, 2008
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- Publisher : Marvel (November 12, 2008)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 254 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0785123202
- ISBN-13 : 978-0785123200
- Reading age : 13 years and up
- Grade level : 8 and up
- Item Weight : 1.34 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.63 x 0.5 x 10.25 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #228,257 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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In detail: These mega-title crossovers are always a bit of a mixed bag. We have here volumes from Uncanny X-Men, New X-Men, X-Men, X-Factor and the X-Men Messiah Complex On-Shot; at least three disparate illustrative styles are at work and I wouldn't even try to count up the number of individual writers/inkers/illustrators. With the main cast of heroes easily in the dozens, lots lots lots of character-specific plot points are referenced. This can be maddening when you only follow a couple of titles closely; I had no idea who a quarter of the characters were, and no clue what a third of them were talking about as they voiced various vendettas or angsts that seemed mission-critical to how they were behaving.
The art, as you can imagine, varies greatly. Some of it I loved, some of it was very manga-pop (not my personal favorite) and the way certain characters were drawn between titles was so different that if it wasn't for their costumes, you wouldn't even recognize them. Emma Frost goes from being an arctic beauty temptress, all alluring razor angles carved of ice you'd happily cut yourself on anyway, to a ridiculous voluptuously proportioned round-faced Barbie impersonator in the span of a few pages; Scott Summers sometimes looks like a fresh-faced twenty-something about to organize a variety show in the barn to save the local orphanage and sometimes a mid-forties grizzled scarred veteran of the cosmic wars and heroin addiction.
Some of the main X titles favor gorgeous, multi-page panel spreads. While these were translated as well as could be expected into Kindle format, and zooms were sequenced as well as could be done, it was sometimes maddening to read on my Fire device. I was flipping the device vertical versus horizontal like a fool. The Kindle version features high-quality art transfers (the file was huge and took forever to download) and some very gorgeous two page spreads begged to be zoomed in on and perused in detail. Though this was an a-effort to bring into digital format, ultimately, I came away with the sense that this series was meant to be read in oversized hard cover to appreciate its true glory.
The fight sequences, many of which were quite gripping I admit, were gritty in some of the titles; including several deaths, one shown in gory detail (my god... one of the character's corpses is almost lovingly displayed in its own frame post-battle, including severed limbs and disembowelment). This juxtaposed really weirdly with other titles, whose fisticuffs were highly sanitized affairs (with everyone walking away with bruises leaving enemies unconscious, verbally noted everyone will recover in time; not unlike the comics of my youth).
For some of these must-read cross-overs (House of M, the Mutant Massacre) this is all worth the price of admission - title spanning impacts, self-contained and explained character arcs during the series, and Marvel universe-wide implications! Messiah Complex ain't one of them. Honestly, I'd give it a pass; with the exception of Layla Miller, what you need to know going forward can be summarized in a couple of bullet points at best.
There are lots of interesting plot developments that were made possible from the events of 'House of M' and 'M day' and this book hits a home run. Each twist I found interesting and even though I think there was a body count that I was a bit shocked to see, there is a good bit of layer to each character heavily involved. Lots of different motivations for each character as well as some great action. I've gone back to read some of the classic xmen stories and X-tinction Agenda looks bad next to this. Honestly pick up this book of you are an Xmen fan. You will not be disappointed!
However, the story is good, and the parts where the art isn't too juxtaposed with how somber and serious it is doesn't entirely kill what is ultimately a very well written yarn
As tpb it is thick, paper quality is glossy on the other hand, it is light. Hopefully in near future Marvel can publish these in Omnibus format. That will be certainly day one purchase for a fan of these series.
Top reviews from other countries
There is a lot going on in the book that isn't really explained so if you're jumping in blind then you might find yourself a bit lost. Having too many series has always been a problem with X-Men: Uncanny X-Men, New X-Men, X-Force, X-Factor - there's too many storylines intersecting to have a standalone book make sense and reading "Messiah CompleX" I kept wondering what was going on. Why are Cyclops and Prof X fighting? Were Mystique and Rogue a couple? Mystique seems to be trying to save Rogue from some coma-type state - how and when did that happen? Is Hope Cyclops' daughter - who's the mother?
I felt there was too much going on which made the book seem overstuffed and more than a bit jumbled. For one thing, the futuristic mutants in concentration camps idea has been done many times before and is trotted out again here to no real effect. I think the point was that if Hope lived, this would become reality but it's unclear how or why - this is another storyline which I expect was addressed in future books. Predator X was one big Macguffin - what was the point in having this robotic dinosaur running rampant? What is it, who sent it, why is it included? That storyline just ends nowhere. As does the Mr Sinister storyline - I thought Sinister would play a much larger role than he actually did, and we never find out what his motives are anyway! It's another story point that ends in a cul-de-sac.
The best storyline was easily Cable's. He's a futuristic mutant fighter who's come to the present to save Hope (I know, it's basically T2 but I don't care). It's him and a baby against everyone, good and bad, and I really wanted to read more about his fight for survival against the odds. I thought the Predator X storyline was created just for Cable to fight at the end but no. Instead we catch brief glimpses of Cable throughout before the final pages where I really wanted to pick up a book devoted entirely to Cable and Hope's survival rather than read more of the convoluted adventures of the X-Men.
The book is a pretty decent and fun read as there's a lot going on so you're never bored. It's just that with so many questions about what's going on, I couldn't really enjoy it fully. I also thought there were far too many characters involved - I don't know who X-Factor or X-Force are, and frankly I don't care. If you've read all the books leading up to this event though I'm sure it's more satisfying.
And on a sidenote, a major character dies at the end. I won't say who but it's kind of laughable if you've been following the more recent "Avengers Vs. X-Men" title because that character dies again! I guess the old rule that only Peter Parker's Uncle Ben stays dead is well and truly still enforced. Kind of undermines the shock of the ending to "Messiah CompleX" though.
a must read x-men story