Luke Reviews just explored Uncanny X-Men: The Extremists as we get caught up with today’s X-Men. The Extremists builds up to a major event that sets up a new status quo that informs the stories for the next few years, up through the just-finished X-Men: Second Coming. That event is the birth of a new mutant baby, the first after the events depicted in House of M. Thus begins X-Men: Messiah CompleX.
In Alaska, a baby mutant is born. The Reavers (focused on more in the X-Men series written by Mike Carey) and the Purifiers (seen predominantly in Craig Kyle & Chris Yost’s New X-Men) make the Alaskan town a battle zone in a fight to recover the baby, with the Purifiers wanting to kill the child as an act of religious fervor, and the Reavers wanting to use the child to further their mutant-dominant agenda. The X-Men find out about the birth, but arrive too late to get the child, instead trying to save the people hurt during the battle. As things play out, all of the major X-Men teams come together to try and save the baby, and give mutants and humans alike hope for the future.
X-Men: Messiah Complex contains: X-Men: Messiah Complex one-shot, Uncanny X-Men #492-494, X-Men #205-207, New X-Men #44-46, and X-Factor #25-27.
Crossovers hold a rather infamous place in X-Men and comics history, frequently being nothing more than a way to sell extra books, and having rather pointless storylines that are confusing if you aren’t reading every single x-book out there. Messiah CompleX proved to be the exception rather than the rule. While it is obvious as you are reading through that things have been building up in the other comics (especially in X-Men and New X-Men, it seems, far more so than in Uncanny X-Men), the major points and bits of information are covered, leaving even new readers with a good understanding of what is going on. While some background is necessary to enjoy this, being totally up-to-date on every book isn’t required.
The story is fast-paced, working through a huge number of different plot threads, yet managing to tie them all back together very nicely at the end. Everyone gets some face time, each of the teams plays a role, and the story flows right along without a hitch. The large cast of characters may seem overwhelming, but it works out well in the end, and is a lot of fun.
Those looking for a crossover with actual implications will find it here as well. New X-Men ended, and spawned the short-lived Young X-Men, while X-Men changed its name to X-Men: Legacy. We see the creation of X-Force, which gets its own series, X-Force, and Cable returns to a prominent role, entering his own new series, Cable. The whole status quo is revamped, and things are all-new all over again.
If you are looking for a fast paced story that wraps up old plot-lines and starts new ones, this is the place to be. Although perhaps not the best book for first-timers.