writer: Brian Michael Bendis / artist: Andrea Sorrentino / Marvel Comics
With Brian Michael Bendis’ time working on the X-Men books coming to an end, you would think Marvel would give him the necessary leeway to tie off loose end. But Marvel is also overdue for a good cosmic crossover before Secret Wars shows up and changes everything (but not really). So….The Black Vortex. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean Bendis can’t still serve his own agenda.
So, the X-Men and the Guardians of the Galaxy are on a quest to save Gamora, Beast and Angel…all of whom…have been transformed/corrupted by the all powerful Black Vortex (or the Not Quite Phoenix, as I call it). Shit is looking pretty rough in space and the team is vastly outgunned. Luckily, Young Cyclops and his dad have resurfaced to offer some much needed backup. Granted, it’s not in the setting or situation most of us would have asked for, but Bendis still manages to neatly lay down all the old tension and team drama from before Cyclops left to do father/son space bonding. I actually enjoyed these moments with the team more than the Black Vortex stuff. I will complain that I could do with a little more spotlight on X-23 coping with her relationship with Angel, but for the most part, the group dynamic and the Cyclops reunion left me pretty satisfied.
Now, Andrea Sorrentino’s artwork, just as it was last time around, stands out a great deal from any other artist working on this crossover, but it looks so good, it almost doesn’t matter. As far as I’m concerned, Sorrentino should be doing the whole event. The detail of the destruction looks absolutely amazing. The moments of exposition and character development are all made that much better by the range of emotion in the faces. The book feels much more alive than anyone else’s contribution to the event.
Bottom Line: It’s the best of both worlds. We get some good character development and an adequate advancement of the crossover event. 8.5 out of 10.