Comics ASSEMBLE!: Uncanny X-Men – Breaking Point

My interest in the X-Men has waned over the years since the peak in the 90s when I read all the books all the time. But I’ve tried to keep up with certain aspects of this corner of the Marvel universe, especially when it’s related to the more cosmic side of things. When last I left the X-Men, I had read things like the X-Men working with S.W.O.R.D. to fend off various alien invasions, and Astonishing X-Men which left Kitty Pryde stranded on a weapon from Breakworld hurtling through space.

Now she’s back on Earth, stuck in her insubstantial phased mode, unable to touch anyone – but at least returned to her friends. Magneto has joined the X-Men (again) but the real meat of this story is when refugees from Breakworld show up at S.W.O.R.D. looking for asylum on Earth. Their world is engulfed in civil war ever since Colossus destroyed their hierarchy and their entire way of life (a culture completely based on battle for supremacy). Just as mutants face extinction, so to do these people, so Cyclops offers them a place to stay.

But of course, things aren’t what they seem – their leader, Kruun, the man Colossus beat before refusing to take up the mantle of leadership of Breakworld, has come seeking revenge – he intends to break Colossus, killing and hurting those Colossus loves most before beating him completely. And that of course means that Kitty Pryde is target #1 – but how do you harm someone who’s insubstantial? It’s an interesting paradox, and one that Kruun finds very cleaver ways to get around. In many ways, Breaking Point is like a horror story featuring the X-Men, as the girl who can’t help anyone is forced to watch others be harmed, and then she herself is tortured.

I loved that they finally incorporated back into this story an answer to the question of how Colossus came to be resurrected on Breakworld – this is one piece to the puzzle that had been skipped over and never explained, but what’s great is, not only does it make sense, it also becomes a key part of the resolution to this story as well. About the only thing I found somewhat annoying in the early parts of the book were when everyone was talking about Kitty’s current condition but no mention was made of the fact that this had happened to her before (see Fall of the Mutants/Excalibur). While her condition in Breaking Point seems far more severe than it has been in the past, I had to deduce that, when it really should have been a part of the plot, even in passing reference.

I also thought the opening chapter (featuring Magneto’s introduction to the world as an X-Man) and the closing one (featuring Wolverine and Hope) weren’t that strong, though the finale is actually more of a teaser for what’s to come in the upcoming Avengers vs X-Men crossover now that it’s been revealed. You can see some of the seeds of how Wolverine feels planted here, along with the fact that Cyclops and Emma may know what’s coming. Sometimes these kinds of issues seem lost and out of context when placed in order in a collection like this, when it may have been better to hold out and add this to some other collection (say X-Sanction) in the future, where it would have been more easily presented as part of the same story.

But in all, I’m a huge Kitty Pryde fan, and this book delivers strongly on that front, making her front and center during the vast majority of the story. It also has the requisite cosmic connections which I seem to require to enjoy an X-Men book these days, and it’s practically a necessary conclusion to the Astonishing X-Men series by Joss Whedon – I’d say the only thing lacking is the story of how Kitty was recovered from the Breakworld weapon. It’s a shame that that story couldn’t have been included instead of the opening and closing chapters that were collected here. Meantime, I’ll just have to keep looking to find where that story is revealed.

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