By: Christopher Yost (writer), Paco Medina and Dalibor Talajic (pencillers), Dalibor Talajic, Juan Vlasco (inkers), Marte Gracia (colorist)

The Story: First To Last, Conclusion: The past and present encounters with the Evolutionaries converge on Cyclops and his choices, past and present. At stake… the survival of humanity.

What’s Good: I continue to be delighted with the artwork, and the stylistic differences between past and present. The less heroic, and even anti-heroic, tone and physiques in the past really give a sense of how far the X-Men, the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, and by extension, the Marvel Universe, have come. Magneto is wider, less sleek, and less in command of himself and the world, due in large part to Talajic’s unique pencil and in work. Cyclops is similarly a shadow of the impressive leader he will be in the future. In the present, modern heroism is shown in its full glory with tight action, exciting layouts and swift action.

What’s Not So Good: I enjoyed this arc, from start, pretty much to finish, but I didn’t feel the conclusion came into focus. You’ll recall that last issue (see WCBR’s review of X-Men #14) ended on a very suggestive cliffhanger (“Summers….what did you do?”). It hinted a deep philosophical choice that Cyclops made to solve the last encounter, that maybe would lead to a split with the X-Men of today, much like the creation of an X-Black Ops team or what will eventually come up in Schism. This was quite cool and ramped up the tension at the end of X-Men #14. The problem with X-Men #15 is that this promise wasn’t fulfilled. It turns out that the choice Cyclops made in the past was not anything that anyone else would have done differently. This not only gutted the moral power of this arc, making it from a high concept piece to a simple adventure story, but it really took the steam out of criticism in the present (like Iceman saying “Look at what we’ve become”). For the deep moral argument to work, the heroes must be faced with a choice between two goods or two evils. A choice between allowing genocide and anything else really isn’t much of a moral choice. That being said, other than this story moral letdown, the writing was crisp and the action fast-paced, well-plotted and fun. And the trips into the early history of the X-Men have me begging for more.

Conclusion: While I still recommend completing this arc, I don’t think it lived up to its potential. However, Yost has left the X-mythos with a past that reaches into the deep time leading back to the Eternals and a grudge that will cast shadows into the future.

Grade: B-

-DS Arsenault

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