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X-Men: Mutant Massacre TPB review by Raphael Borg

X-Men: Mutant Massacre TPB

by Chris Claremont (Author), Walt Simonson (Author), Louise Simonson (Author), John Romita Jr. (Illustrator), Sal Buscema (Illustrator), Alan Davis (Illustrator)

The 1986 event X-Men: The Mutant Massacre largely written by Chris Claremont and illustrated by a cadre of artists is, to me, typical of any X-Men event, encircling a single event from the perspective of the many X-Men teams. In context of when it was released with so many massacres and violence incurred all over the world at the time in the name of proxy wars.

With mutants being a metaphor of that which is “different” and “subversive”, you can imagine what is being said if you’re familiar with the historical context outside the global north at all.
Even more so with the X-Factor – the original X-Men – somehow being able to pass off as mutant-hunters in disguise (something that confuses me more than the Clark Kent/Superman thing).
Considering this, it does contain some silliness, especially the artistic flourishes you might expect of the era such as an alarmingly large number of pupil-less eyes and bodies contorting in ways that are just painful to look at.

It nonetheless contains otherwise gorgeous artwork, particularly the portions by Alan Davis (my favorite artist of the era) and Sal Buscema, both going for dynamic art and highly expressive faces in contrast to the above. Writing-wise, I am torn between the Power Pack issue, which introduced me to a team I have never read a single comic about that come across as an interesting grouping, as well as the main X-Men titles which bring the full weight of a massacre happening on the X-Men’s watch – especially with Magneto having just been christened as new headmaster in Professor X’s absence, Storm having just had lost a portion of the team missing in action.

As the coming and going from the Morlock tunnels brings steadily higher stakes and more of a steady body count, it becomes more and more hopeless. Each passing moment feels solemn and tragic, but sadly does not build up to anything other than a confrontation between Sabertooth – now a member of the Marauders, just one of the culprits – and Wolverine, and the traces of who is pulling the strings…later revealed to be Mister Sinister and Apocalypse, both who embrace a creed of “survival of the fittest” rather than the common survival of the species.

And they say that comics only now getting political.

Probably because you were not exposed to the politics they stood for back then. Bless your soul.