Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews
X-Men: Divided We Stand #1 of 2
Carey, Peterson, Ponsor, Kyle, Yost, Takeda, Young, Beaulieu, Yost, LaFuente, Fraction & McKelvie
A collection of five short stories about random X-Men who you may or may not have been wondering about since Cyclops disbanded the X-Men after the Messiah Complex. Each story has a different creative team and presents a very different look at life after the war. None of the stories is particularly happy, but depending on your involvement with the character, none are too depressing either. The issue is very good overall.
Our first short story involves Cannonball. He’s the type who can’t live without the action. He tries to go home and doesn’t even get his bag unpacked before he yearns for the fight. Good, bad or indifferent he needs the battle that he has fought all along. Cannonball picks a fight with some locals and before you know it he’s takes flight. This story is interesting because I would assume that most, if not almost all, mutants would feel the same way as Cannonball. He’s an outcast who finds a normal existence fighting for his life and the lives of those around him, those that are also mutants. This story speaks to the heart of the problem: why would Cyclops just send all the mutants away with no where to go and no support system?
The second story involves Nehzno. He returns home to Wakanda with Storm. This story illustrates how a lot of mutants must feel returning home, which is one of loneliness and a feeling of being an outcast. Now, I don’t fully understand Nehzno or his affliction, but his pain was clear. He shouldn’t have gone home, he isn’t welcome there and one of his own, Storm, isn’t around to help out. Why did Cyclops disband the X-Men again?
The next one involves Victor. He’s shell shocked. He returns home and can’t let go of the war. It’s still inside him and it occupies his mind. He has a long conversation with Northstar about this before he runs away. This story is weakest of the comic for a couple of reasons. For one thing, I don’t know either character well enough to sink my teeth into their dialogue. Without any background on them this story is difficult to follow. Secondly, we don’t see enough of how his life at home drives him to run away. In the end, he runs and doesn’t know where is going, much like most of the X-Men I would think.
Next, Hellion relives his injury from the Messiah Complex and is quickly abandoned by Emma Frost, who informs him that the X-Men are done. He looks for another team to join. He seeks out Magneto. Magneto sees through his reasons and passes on letting Hellion follow him. This story gives the classic “no where to turn to” mentality of leaving the battles behind. Everyone turns their backs on Hellion. This is the one story that has the workings of a villain getting created.
Lastly, Nightcrawler confronts the one who nearly killed him, Scalphunter. This story is good for a couple of reasons. One, it really gives deep insight into Nightcrawler’s character. We even get the aspects of his spirituality which isn’t always presented with the character. Secondly, we see that not all the X-Men are lost in their purpose. Lastly, we see that the villains of the Messiah Complex aren’t exactly prospering since the war ended either.
As a collection, the comic is very good. I don’t know the reasons behind selecting these five characters, but I feel like the themes behind them could apply to any one of the other characters, expect maybe Nightcrawler. This isn’t a bad thing. It just means the creative teams really tackled situations that are relatable on a day-to-day level. It makes the stories much better.
Another aspect of this issue that works well is the fact that you don’t need to know a ton about the characters to fully enjoy the stories. It helps to know something about them, but not a ton overall.
I was on the fence about picking this issue up because it really isn’t a “story” and you could argue that it isn’t really relevant, but I did like it. We get one more issue like this one, but will there be enough other ways to handle the post-breakup stress I wonder.
4 out of 5 geek goggles.
X-Men Divided We Stand #1 (of 2)