Kordey is back but, not in a rush he is not nearly so bad -- still not the guy I want to see here but no longer horrible. At times in this issue -- Emma at the end, Fantomex shooting people, the train job mess -- I even begin to like him.
Morrison brings in X-Force -- in Paris of all places -- which is funny: it is fantastic that Morrison is thinking of how to revive the whole X-Men franchise. A few pages in we get a shot of the team getting ready in a locker room. Pay attention: this is a co-ed room where Siryn was clearly topless a split second before the panel was drawn. She does not even wear a bra under her uniform, which is a great real world bring-down of these Liefeld-"sexy" characters, and Morrison's own pretentions earlier in the series to make his own X-Men sexy. The real world "mornin Sam mornin Ralph" talk -- Multiple Man has a hangover -- is a great detail, as is the Tarantino bitching about code-names. Later in the issue the small talk continues to the point of fanboy insanity-- Sam regrets the sandwich he ate and threw up over Paris, and Madrox singing and harmonizing with himself leads into a question about whether he has orgies with his doubles. Then it all goes wrong when they get horribly attacked -- the attack means more because we have seen them in this context, which is good writing.
In a dark moment recalling Millar's very effective portrayal of Xavier in Ultimate X-Men, Morrison's Xavier says "No more need to hide our mutant natures. No more human rules." Jean points out that this sounds like Nova, but Charles embraces the idea -- Nova, he says, forced them to make necessary changes, and was thus, in her evil, an agent of good. He also wonders if people have control over their destiny or of they are controlled by an intelligent evolutionary process, an idea that will come back in the final issues of the run. Jean then worries she is turning evil, with the Phoenix force back. It is a great few pages -- once you leave human rules behind how do you know if you are good or evil since good and evil are human ideas (this is something that is used with great force in Morrison's Authority 2 out this week). The scene in which Xavier, investigating Jean's Phoenix powers, is wonderfully ambiguous: he tells her that he feels like he is "on the shores of what seems an ocean of psychic light" and that if he dared go further all his thoughts would turn to ash. "Only the ones you don't need in the light" she replies.
Once the Phoenix begins talking and showing Charles scenes of destruction Charles says "are these words from the future" something he has said before and will say again. Morrison is thinking here of his own comic book, which -- at its best -- feels like an artifact from the future, and tying his series together.
Fantomex is introduced here, "the most notorious criminal in Europe" seeking asylum. Fantomex is one of my favorite comic book characters of all time, but I am going to save a discussion of him for a later post. To properly appreciate the insanity of this character you have to know much more about him.
The issue ends with Scott talking about Jean with Emma and the first set up of their upcoming affair. The issue is fantastic, hitting many different points and scenes, all done excellently, all tied together powerfully. Fantomex for instance, is a great character, and also connected to the train job that is getting X-Force killed and everyone's morality has been compromised. Once again we feel like Morrison is doing something great with the X-Men.