Okay, now I’m confused. I get that the 2 stories in this issue are connected by Arkea, but when are they supposed to be happening in comparison with each other? Last issue it seemed like they were happening at the same time, but now? Karima appears in both! Quentin Quire appears in both! It doesn’t make any sense, does Brian Wood have a split personality? Has Brian Wood been injected with the Lady Deathstrike consciousness or something? I hope the next issue irons out the timeline, because if not, then I dunno what. Luckily, each story is decent enough on it’s own, and the art throughout is excellent, because without those caveats, I would be as close to scathing as I get.
The issue begins with Ana Cortes and Enchantress paying their way into a secret vault in New York that contains the soul of Selene captured in nothing but air. I didn’t read the Necrosha crossover, so the back-story here is lost on me, but the end result is that Selene is back, and although Enchantress initially bows to her, by the end of the issue, Selene is bowing to Arkea. This Sisterhood is getting really powerful, and the next step is Maddie Pryor.
As for the X-Men, they are still playing catch-up and spend the majority of the story on Cortes’ boat, trying to work out what’s going on. In the end, they work out that Arkea is buying up dead female Mutants and resurrecting them, which, after contact with Sabra, has them caught up and aware that the next target is Maddie. Back at the Jean Grey School we get a brief scene with Quentin Quire talking to John Sublime, which mainly serves to set up some kind of future plot about Baby Shogo, who of course used to have Arkea inside him.
The first story ends in Japan, with Typhoid Mary and Lady Deathstrike sparring, until Ana’s consciousness takes hold and begs Mary to kill her. Mary refuses, and so Ana attacks her for real, trying to commit ‘suicide by Typhoid Mary’. They are interrupted by Arkea, who tells them that they have Madelyne Pryor’s consciousness and can begin some kind of procedure to bring her back. But before this can happen, Ana just straight up stabs herself in the stomach. I like the fact that the new Deathstrike isn’t working out, it would have been too easy for the resurrection to have been seamless, so this added wrinkle works very well, and could very well be the key to the X-Men defeating the Sisterhood. Kris Anka’s art also deserves special praise, he’s only drawn a few comics so far, but already he’s a favourite. I love the facial expressions he uses, and how much attention he pays to fashion and style. Plus, he’s not too cheesecakey, which is great for a female-focused comic.
The second story continues the fight against the Arkea-controlled Sentinels, and was much more action-heavy. It was cool to see some lesser-known X-Men students get the spotlight, and I also liked seeing Jubilee use her Vampire powers, although they do go wrong at the end. She turns into mist, but doesn’t turn back, uh-oh. Clay Mann’s art was excellent too, but really, this story had me scratching my head with where it fits in time-line wise.
It really held me back from enjoying this issue fully, I want to like this book more than I do, but something is stopping it from reaching the same level of quality as the other X-Books.