Review by Karl Verhoven
While Kieron Gillen’s X-Men continuity follows Breaking Point, as this title suggests, it’s more intimately connected with Marvel’s 2011 company wide crossover. During the events of Fear Itself a selection of extraordinarily powerful mystical hammers sought out already mighty beings, transforming them into rampaging monsters with a mission. The Juggernaut’s gimmick is being unstoppable, so a power-up of that magnitude just makes an extremely difficult task nearly impossible.
For a fair portion of the book Gillen and Greg Land don’t provide much in the way of plot, just variations on a similar scene involving different X-Men. The Juggernaut is heading toward San Francisco, not only housing a vast mutant community, but the diverse population the city is known for in the real world, and he’s followed by an army of bigots. The X-Men need to stop him on the motorway before he reaches San Francisco, which, as noted, is nearly impossible. Gillen and Land run through various individual and teamed X-Men acting out plans that have a slim chance of stopping the Juggernaut, Gillen concisely and creatively explaining why each of them fails. If nothing else, it reveals a comprehensive study of the mutants X-Men creators have at their disposal. Halfway through two further plots emerge, the military suggest taking advantage of chaos, and a possible solution at great cost.
One scene takes place in Emma Frost’s boudoir, but otherwise Greg Land’s tendency to pose all women provocatively is kept in check, and he delivers the sheer destructive power the story calls for again and again. The final chapter features a poster pin-up of assorted X-Men and foes, which looks attractively designed until the eye alights on Phoenix’s preposterously sized breasts, which by their rigidity appear to be silicon specials. There’s probably a reference online somewhere as to which X-Men graphic novel features the procedure.
Gillen uses the circumstances to boost one of the X-Men, which is an interesting idea that plays out well here, but needs long term ramifications to be validated. A final chapter ties into Schism, in which the X-Men split into two teams with different ideologies, running Mister Sinister’s musings alongside Iceman departing. “I’d say you were no fun any more Scott”, says Iceman, “but you never were much fun”. Gillen’s X-Men continue in Uncanny X-Men Vol. 1, which is combined with X-Men: Fear Itself in X-Men by Kieron Gillen: The Complete Collection Vol. 1.