by Charles Soule, Jeff Lemire, Aaron Kuder, Javier Garron, Morry Hollowell, and Jay David Ramos
“Wow” is pretty much all that can be said after reading Death of X #4. This is not a good “wow.” This is the kind of “wow” that leaves you angrily speechless, or cheated. To say that this mini-series was underwhelming prior to the final issue is an understatement, but the end of it is probably one of the most mind-numbingly, odd things that Marvel has published in recent years. Cyclops didn’t die this issue, good storytelling did.
Charles Soule and Jeff Lemire are both very good writers. Lemire has struggled at times on Extraordinary X-Men, but almost any other book in his catalog is excellent. Death of X is not one of those books that falls into his excellent category. This issue is a big slap in the face to anyone who is a fan of Cyclops, the X-Men, or continuity in comics. One huge problem with this issue, and series for that matter, is how characters acted. They didn’t seem to have the same voice and appeared to be acting out to further the plot. This continues in this issue as Storm delivers an eulogy for a man she despises. Even in the stories told now, it makes no sense why a character like Sunfire is known as a traitor for helping Cyclops, but Magik, who also helped Scott is not; these things just don’t add up. Since the eight month gap between Secret Wars and current books, Cyclops has been called Hitler, by Amadeus Cho and reviled by his teammates and said he ruined everything. After the reading of this issue, if you feel yourself scratching your head, you’re not alone. It’s hard to grasp what the writers were going for here as Scott’s actions seem pretty reasonable. There is certainly nothing to warrant comparisons to one of the biggest villains/monsters the world has ever seen. There is a twist in this book, but it’s something that any reader should have suspected since the first issue. This was disappointing in every sense of the word. There was an opportunity to tell a great story, but it was squandered with lackluster writing, bad pacing, and an overall lack of enjoyment while reading.
The pencils this issue are handled by Aaron Kuder and Javier Garron with colors by Morry Hollowell and Jay David Ramos. For the most part, the pencils are fine. There are a couple of panels where characters faces seem a bit distorted, but the art is really the only redeeming thing this issue. As a character succumbs to the effects of the Terrigen cloud, Kuder and Garron do a very nice job of making it seem as gross, painful, and disgusting as possible, complete with gross boils all over his skin. The panels where Scott goes to face off against the Inhumans are also drawn very well. Even a small panel of Cyclops’ outstretched arm feeling the rain falling down, is a well drawn panel that shows the character at an extremely proud moment.
One of the standouts in this series has been colorist Morry Hollowell. He’s teamed up with Jay David Ramos, and as usual, they produce some excellent colors. As the Terrigen cloud changes from a green to a red, the colorists excel at drawing your eye to their work. This has been a breakout series for Hollowell and he definitely deserves some recognition for what he’s done here.
“Disappointed” isn’t a big enough word to use after reading this issue. The writing seems very uneven and ridiculous at times. Characters were stomped on for dramatic effect and it comes off terrible. If ever there was a book to skip on the shelves, Death of X #4 is it.