X-Men v3 Issue 5
Well with a single issue this series has just about redeemed itself in my eyes. After a great start to the series, the last 3 issues really failed to impress and reading this book became a bit of a chore. Luckily though it has managed to come back from the grave with a stellar action-packed issue that managed to prove me right and be unsurprising in the best way possible.
The issue opens with Xarus' troops on the doorstep of Utopia, with hundreds of air units and troop transports in addition to masses of Aqueos swarming underwater for the Atlanteans to fight. As the X-Men gather their forces in preparation for the attack, Xarus attacks, forcing the X-Men to play their hand. However, as the X-Men begin to make a dent and gain a better defensive position Wolverine joins the vampire forces and takes down half of the X-Men. It would seem though that Cyclops had yet to play his biggest card, activating Logan's healing factor (Which Dr. Nemesis had disabled in secret). Upon this, Wolverine is human once more and the X-Men take down all the vampires. As Xarus tries to figure out his next move from his home base, an unexpected guest makes for a threat Xarus will have to face alone...
Victor Gischler finally picks up the action here and it's nice. I mean, the man isn't a perfect writer but with all the build up he has provided over the last 4 issues, he does the right thing by letting the action carry the story, which shows a solid understanding of overall story pacing. The twist with Wolverine and the ending are both for from unexpected but you know what, it doesn't matter at this point since it feels right. In addition to this, he did a fantastic job of choosing his team roster for this issue. Seeing characters like Mercury, Armor, and Husk go off to fight vampires is something I never expected when approaching this book, and I'm glad he didn't go with the popular characters but rather the most strategic, those who couldn't be easily bit. It's simple but effective. Also. Holy. Water. Iceman. The second I saw Iceman with a priest being blessed I was in awe of the creative use of his powers and giddy at the possibilities this opens up. I feel Iceman is a relatively untapped character with a lot of room to elevate his status. I mean, the dude is an Omega Level Mutant. This issue thankfully shows progress with the use of his abilities.
Overall, issue 5 of the latest X-Men book is probably the best outing of the series so far. With it's creativity and predictability mixed into a final product that gives you what should rightfully happen while surprising you with developments you never saw coming, this book has worked it's way back up my list of X-Books. 4 out of 5. Pick this up, if for nothing else than Holy Water Iceman. WOO!