Review by Frank Plowright
Divided He Stands ended extremely arbitrarily after five chapters in which Professor X recovered from the verge of death, but without his mind entirely intact. Aware of this, he’s seeking out people from his past to recover memories from them. The obvious contacts might be assorted X-Men, but he’s more concerned with his youth, a time in which his powers and ideologies were formulated. Mike Carey reveals the connections early, via a clever plan that unites several X-Men enemies and the purpose of which is to ensure Mister Sinister is restored to life. Sorting that out takes two episodes that would have been better packaged with the previous book. It’s a neat conclusion, though, with Carey pointing out what might otherwise have been seen as a plot hole right at the end.
It’s once again Scot Eaton handling most of the art, with guest artists at one per chapter brought in for specific sequences. Over the first chapter Eaton varies his art, and his standard superhero pages are far more attractive than the style employed for the montages of events occurring elsewhere. Marco Checchetto on a Rogue sequence is preferable to Ken Lashley’s work, but it’s Phil Briones drawing the entire final chapter who really stands out. His layouts have some imagination to them.
The two-part story concluding Sins of the Fathers may start as unconnected to what’s gone before, but thematically it very definitely is. Professor X has discovered that he and others may be unwilling seed carriers, and certainty determines he must approach those others, beginning with his one time protégé Cyclops who now holds grudges regarding previous treatment. It leads to another look back at incidents from the X-Men’s past, with the focus being whether what Xavier did has always been motivated by benign intention, or whether that’s just been a mask for egotism and power. Xavier’s contradictory character over the years comes in for intense scrutiny.
What Carey’s doing is interesting. There would be no X-Men without Professor X, yet he’s rarely been the central character, and then only briefly. Weaving an entire series around him is actually a novelty considering he’s been around since the earliest days, and that novelty continues in Original Sin.