Monday, April 5, 2010

Necrosha - Dead, Alive, and In Between

On the same week Blackest Night reached it's conclusion, the other major death-themed story in the comics world ended as well. Necrosha, the big X-men crossover involving X-Force, finally reached it's conclusion. While the awesome factor was still strong, in many ways it was overshadowed by the sheer magnitude of awesome cast by Blackest Night.

Never-the-less, Necrosha did end on a solid note. Over the past few months the event had been unfolding nicely throughout the X-books (except Uncanny). It gave X-Force it's biggest moment since Messiah War and they really stepped up to the plate. Writers Craig Kyle and Chris Yost did a nice job bringing a lesser used villain like Selene into the fold and writing her in a ways that would never leave a reader to suspect she was so underused. It would have been so much easier for them to use someone who had much bigger credentials as an X-villain. They could have used Mr. Sinister, the Hellfire Club, or Black Tom Cassidy. But they took a chance on using a lesser name like Selene and by the end she wasn't lesser anymore. That and she looks much better in a thong.

The final issue was the final showdown. X-Force which consisted of Wolverine, X-23, Domino, Vanisher, Warpath, and Angel made their way to Selene and attacked. It took some help from Warpath's deceased brother, John "Thunderbird" Proudstar, to get them close, but they were able to take her on and literally rip out her heart. It made for a moment of brutal awesome that is consistent with the quality that has always been X-Force.

Now some reviewers on sites like CBR have criticized X-Force for being too dark and too bland. This is being somewhat short-sighted because darkness is a major theme of X-Force. Kyle and Yost made that clear from the beginning. You don't have a team of mutant killers hunt down thong-wearing immortal with a goddess complex and have it be merely PG. This story merely continued the traditions established in X-Force since the beginning and there's nothing wrong with that.

That's not to say some criticisms weren't valid. It didn't feel as though the other books that crossed over with Necrosha, including X-men Legacy and New Mutants, had much of an impact on the final battle. Basically, some enemies like Proteus broke off from Selene's main force and just fought other teams of the X-men and that was it for the most part. It would have been more fitting of Magneto came over from X-men Legacy and took part in the battle on the very island he once ruled. It may be because he was a major player in Uncanny instead, but it feels like a missed opportunity. Also, the final blow against Selene felt as though it could have been made earlier. Unlike Blackest Night, the mutants of X-Force didn't really need to do anything special to take her down. They just needed to get close and stab her. It's very in line with X-Force's brutal nature, but it feels a bit underhanded that someone with that kind of power would be taken down with just a stab to the heart.

Criticisms aside, Necrosha still did a fine job of bringing the story to a close. It also opened the door for more stories. It was able to end on a positive note like Blackest Night. Not all the mutants Selene resurrected were accounted for in the end. That means some like Banshee, Pyro, Senyaka, and Blink could still be out there. There was also the touching moment between Warpath and his brother. All too often characters like Thunderbird get glossed over and this was a moment for him to shine. Even though X-Force as a series is such a dark book, it really ended on a positive note with Cyclops saying the dawn is coming. That dawn should emerge through Second Coming and Necrosha helps bleed in nicely to this much bigger event.

Necrosha as a whole deserves plenty of praise. If Blackest Night hadn't unfolded right along with it this series would deserve a 5 out of 5 or at least a 4.5 out of 5. But since Blackest Night bested Necrosha in so many ways, it is overshadowed in a sense can only be given a 4 out of 5. It's still a quality book with quality art and quality storytelling. It is merely a victim of timing, sandwiched between Blackest night and Second Coming. Once these events are over and the aftermath begins, the truth context of Necrosha will come into focus and there will be plenty more reasons to praise it's awesome.

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