X-Men #185


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X-Men #185


  • Words: Peter Milligan
  • Art: Salvador Larroca
  • Inks: Salvador Larroca
  • Colors: Jason Keith
  • Story Title: The Blood of Apocalypse Part 4: Love and Death
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $2.50
  • Release Date: Apr 19, 2006

Gambit shows his true colors. Apocalypse makes gruesome demands of world leaders and the fourth horseman’s identity is revealed.

"The Blood of Apocalypse" storyline’s penultimate chapter is disturbing and revealing. It begins seconds after the ending of last issue with Havok and his team standing in shock at the revelation that Gambit is Death. A short battle ensues and the X-Men end up covered in blood and on the run. Meanwhile, War tries to retrieve the only wayward horseman from the confines of the X-Mansion and Apocalypse makes a visit to the U.N. with a frightening ultimatum. The story culminates with Havok and Cyclops visiting the O*N*E Sentinel base and seeing something that can only mean this thing will end with a bang. The true identity of Pestilence is revealed and the bang is thusly ensured.

As in almost every issue of Milligan’s run on X-Men, a lot happens. From the fallout of last month’s big reveal to the big reveals of this issue, many things are going on. Milligan has gotten quite a bit of flak from X-fans everywhere for his time on this title. Many of these fans are the ones who derided Grant Morrison’s run because it was too strange. My only reply to those people is that they obviously fear change, whereas I think change is good. Milligan has done something well few have even been able to do. He has gotten inside the heads of the X-Men he was allowed to play with. And let’s all be honest here, he wasn’t exactly given the cream of the crop, was he? But he understands something many in the comic book field have forgotten; every plotline that could possibly be told in literature, already has been. The good story emerges from the minds and lips of the characters as they react to the situations the author places them in.

So, in Milligan’s book we see Iceman behave like a frightened boy even though we all know he is one of the most powerful members of the team. We see Havok dealing with being in the shadow of his older brother the way he always has, incorrectly. And the results of his impetuousness, as you will learn if you read this comic, are indeed tragic. We see Mystique’s dark side and desire to mother Rogue collide to cinematically dramatic ends. Finally, we see Rogue and Gambit act like the squabbling, mismatched lovers who are nonetheless in love that we’ve always known they were. In short, we see characters.

These characters we see are also drawn by a deft hand, which definitely doesn’t hurt. I cannot lay enough praise upon Larroca. His sharp lines and heavy shading are a perfect reflection to Milligan’s layered stories. And his unique blending of pencils, inks, and paints gives the book a distinctive feel that makes me always want to pick it up. Larroca’s style doesn’t shout at the reader with bright colors and larger than life characters, it adds to the humanization Milligan has given the X-Men. It makes the book feel solid, real, and dramatic.

Milligan will be off X-Men soon and I know some of you are breathing a sigh of relief. If you are one of those, you should think again and give him a second chance before it is all said and done. Remember, change is good.

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