X-Men: 200-204: Blinded By The light

Writer: Mike Carey
Art: Chris Bachalo, Humberto Ramos,Mike Choi
Marvel Comics

This is the story that sets up the X-Men for Messiah Complex as it brings the threat of Mr Sinister and the Marauders back to the X-titles, however Sinister hasn’t limited himself to just Marauders only. No, he’s also secured the help of the Acolytes. Not to mention a few current and past X-Men…

X-Men

The arc sees the X-Men trying to help Rogue after the battle with the Hecatomb, whilst Cable deals with the devastated island of Providence. As he’s assaulted by both Gambit and Sunfire, the X-Men, including Cyclops, Emma Frost and Beast come under attack from the Marauders who’ve given themselves an edge: Malice has possessed Karima, while Lady Mastermind and Mystique both betray the team. In the ensuing battle Emma ensures Cannonball and Iceman can escape but the Marauders demolish the house on top of the defeated X-Men.

A mid-air battle follows between Cannonball and Sunfire, with the latter taunting Cannonball with the news of Cable’s death at his and Gambit’s hands. It doesn’t help him win, instead he ends up captured. Back at the mansion Blindfold touches Elixir and ends up dead, at the same time, the Acolytes attack. They use a time dilation attack to freeze everyone in place, see Blindfold dead and consider a job already done as they search for some books. Meanwhile Sunfire is interrogated and gives up information. At the mansion the books are found to be the diaries of Destiny, but are blank. Exodus decides time will have to be restored to be able to read them – the New X-Men attack but lose. As he scans Kitty Pryde’s mind to find the truth Exodus finds something unexpected: Her mind is altered, she believes there are words on the page though there are none.

At the demolished house Beast, Cyclops and Emma are slowly recovering. They contact Cannonball telepathically and are informed it’s all about the future. Sinister is aiming to shut down all knowledge of the future hence the attack on Cable. Back at the mansion they manage to revive Blindfold, who had used Elixir’s ability to fool Exodus that she was dead. Sinister finally enters the story but isn’t that happy with the failure to acquire the diaries. He resorts to using a cerebra device of his own to locate the X-Men.

Cannonball and Iceman are tracked to an abandoned building where the diaries, the genuine ones, can be found, they begin to search and shortly thereafter the Marauders arrive. This time the Marauders lack the advantages they had previously and would have lost were it nor for Sinister’s intervention. Yet as he’s about to have Scalphunter kill them and claim the diaries, Gambit throws a card that sees them be destroyed instead. Sinister begins erasing Cannoball’s mind but is interrupted by Iceman who manages to flee, wakes up Cannonball who blasts himself free of Sinister.

The epilogue issue picks up a short time later with Cannonball recovering from Sinister’s attack but not yet awake and Iceman second-guessing himself, though Beast assures him he did fine. Cyclops is mourning Cable whilst contemplating the recent events, at the Marauders base Mystique is demanding Sinister restore Rogue. The X-Men meet to plan a counter-attack and later, Cannonball wakes up. As he and Iceman talk there’s a sudden power outage and the mansion’s plunged into darkness…

Given the comments Carey has made about this arc being planned from the start, then the question becomes: Just how much has Sinister manipulated the situation and how much has he opportunistically taken advantage of it? It’s quite possible he could know of Pandemic, perhaps collaborating with him to place Karima and Lady Mastermind to be found by the X-Men. He then later inflicts a virus on Rogue that’s intended to force Mystique to work with Sinister, while she thinks it her own idea the whole time. We’ve already seen him strike a bargain with Exodus in the X-Men Annual, so that only leaves the Hecatomb. I don’t think Sinister could have known about it unless he has his own source of future information? More than likely in my opinon.

It’s fair to say the X-titles don’t always get the art they deserve, like Morrison’s run, Carey’s stories have had to deal with varying artists. My personal preference is for Bachalo’s style over that of Ramos, but the art by Choi is better still. It’s too bad he was only on X-Men 204. Still, despite this, all three succeed at what is asked of them: Bachalo and Ramos deliver scenes of kinetic energy, while Choi delivers the quieter and more emotional elements of the epilogue very well.

Ultimately, like Endangered Species, Blinded By The Light has to rely on Messiah CompleX to determine if it is a great X-Men story or simply average. It can’t stand on its own, apart from the stories it’s linked to. I’ve really enjoyed Carey’s run so far, and I’m hoping Messiah CompleX delivers, though I’m not sure about the New X-Men elements that are being brought in. Where Blinded By The Light works very well is in giving us a series of battles, with various results, across a good few locations, all in a handful of issues. Now onto Messiah CompleX….

Discuss this topic here.

  • Ben Crofts Ben Crofts is resident in Essex, works in London and has found comics and philosophy mix surprisingly well.