The Dark Reign event is in full swing over at Marvel. In the wake of the brutal Skrull Invasion, Normal Osborn (aka the Green Goblin) of all people has taken hold of the planet. Tony Stark is on the run, deleting the sensitive information he collected as head of SHIELD from his brain one neuron at a time, and the Avengers are pretty pissed that killers, madmen and unstable people are running around with their good name. The X-Men, on the other hand, were largely staying out of the conflict, settling into their new expansive digs in San Francisco. With these individuals living openly comes the ignorance and bigotry of “normal people” and the combination leads to riots. Norman and his Avengers step in, and in order to control the mutant population, he turns to Emma Frost and commissions her to form her own team of X-Men.
I don’t have the entire story yet, as Uncanny X-Men #513 is probably among my father’s mail up in Allentown and the local comic book store was sold out, but here’s a breakdown of the team as I see them.
Emma Frost has quickly become one of my favorite characters in the X-Men comics. Previously her appeal to me was based mostly on her physical appearance. However, of late she has developed into a very deep and nuanced character, who manages to straddle that line between harnessing the essence of noblesse oblige and being a cunning and manipulative bitch. Once a member of the Hellfire Club and concerned solely with her own ends, the survival of mutantkind has taken the place of her former decadent desires, and so she’s been with the X-Men for quite a while, and has proven that the well-being of her fellow mutants is now what’s foremost in her mind. But a new pair of shoes never hurts. She’s the leader of these Dark X-Men due to her proximity to Norman Osborn, who invited her to be part of his secret cabal of evil leadership in this new era of the Marvel Universe. I highly doubt that she’ll let Norman dictate to her how she’ll use her team.
Namor, likewise, isn’t about to let this pencil-necked human with stupid hair tell him what to do. His relationship with Emma, however, is long and complex, and for a long time he’s denied the fact that he’s more a mutant than he is an Atlantean. Marvel’s “first mutant” and the first true antihero in comicdom is slowly moving away from Osborn’s cabal towards a higher ideal. Atlantis is in a shambles and were I in Namor’s shoes (provided he wore shoes), I would imagine that someone like Emma Frost will be better equipped in the future to secure the safety necessary for the kingdom to rebuild. There’s also the fact Osborn had the Sentry demolish an Atlantean population for political purposes, and Namor can’t be happy about that.
Daken is the son of Wolverine and is a character that puts me on the fence. I love the two aforementioned characters, and am ambivalent about some of the others, but Daken makes me want to hate him while also highlighting something very interesting about his father. You see, were it not for Logan’s developed sense of honor and strong loyalty to those who have earned his respect and trust, he would be what Daken is: a stone-cold arrogant killer. Both Daken and Logan are fully aware of their monstrous inner natures and unapologetic about the efficiency of killing those who oppose them, but Logan’s rage and ferocity are tempered with knowledge and training. Logan has chosen to be something more than just a mad animal and makes that choice every day. Daken is his father’s polar opposite and is interesting as a character study in that regard. I think I’d like him more if he wasn’t acting like such a brat and swinging his alpha male claws around as much as he is.
Mimic, along with Cloak & Dagger to a lesser extent, bring to mind days of Marvel past, not unlike the characters brought back to the forefront in the Annihilation event. Mimic in particular is a former villain who wants to make himself better, and when he is offered a spot on a legitimate team backed by the government, he jumps at the chance. I’m curious to see how he reacts when he realizes exactly who Osborn is. Cloak & Dagger have a chance to separate themselves from their pasts, which have seen them breaking the law more than once, but I find their story less compelling than Mimic’s.
Weapon Omega, to me, feels a bit tacked on. That might change.
Mystique. I don’t see her in either of the books I picked up today, but I know she’s a part of this team, and I know Osborn is keeping a very close eye on her. This isn’t going to end well, especially if she and Emma begin to work together. Hell hath no fury etc.
Dark Beast is a smug and sadistic jerk and I hope Hank recovers enough to kick his furry butt back into his home dimension.
That’s all for now. Until next week, you can continue to make mine Marvel.