Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men: Exodus #1
The sixth and final chapter in Utopia, a crossover between the Dark Avengers and Uncanny X-Men set in the Dark Reign storyline, features the ultimate showdown between the X-Men and Norman Osborn. Northstar appears as a regular member of the X-Men, having joined up in Uncanny X-Men #508 and Madison Jeffries appears as a regular member of the X-Men Science Team, having joined up in Uncanny X-Men #505.
After he raised Asteroid M to become the floating island Utopia and prepared for the inevitable knockout drag-down battle that results whenever one does such a thing, Cyclops fully reveals his secret plan to defeat Osborn, escape the untenable prospect of residence in the U.S. and provide a safe haven for all mutants. Just that? He gets some help along the way from Northstar and Mister Jeffries who appear in battle against Osborn’s teams, who attack Utopia a short time after secession.
As the various groups of X-teams clamor around to gang up on the Dark Avengers and Dark X-Men, one battle pits the fashionably named Dark Beast against Northstar and the X-Men Science Team. Unfortunately, Northstar get taken out right away, but the Science Team runs over to finish the job.
You can see Mister Jeffries very tiny running in the lower right of the image. Madison is able to restrain the Dark Beast by transmutating coiled tentacles out of the metal deck as Northstar lies nearby. Fellow Science Team member Dr. Nemesis blasts at the Dark Beast as Psylocke simultaneously rams her TK sword right through him, taking him down.
This scene is typical of the battles sketched out in this issue by Matt Fraction, who really went out of his way to show the dozens and dozens of characters in this epic battle using their signature powers to defeat the enemy. How Dark Beast was able to swipe at Northstar so fast that he was unable to avoid the blow is difficult to understand, but he is quite fast and Northstar isn’t the greatest hand-to-hand combatant out there. Well, someone had to get hit in the attack, the worst being Cyclops himself, who pretty much got wiped out by Osborn, so he wasn’t the only one to fall.
It was nice to see Jeffries in battle again, but wouldn’t it have been nicer to see him in the Box armor? The tentacle thing was pretty good, but he just as easily could have done the Inspector Gadget telescoping arm thing from within the Box armor, or any other clever use of the armor as we’ve seen before in so many issues of Alpha Flight volume 1. He’s just so much more powerful than this. I remember the guy being one hell of a powerhouse for the heavy, heavy jobs. He can become a spaceship or a submarine. He can turn his arm into an semi-automatic machine gun or a laser cannon. The guy once used his mind to rip apart a Sentinel and used the debris to make a superharpoon to kill another Sentinel (Alpha Flight #43). Heck, he once transformed his armor into a frakkin’ Robot Tyrannosaurus Rex and ripped the throat out of a real T-rex (Alpha Flight Annual #2). In the battle for the very survival of his race, we could have seen a bit more than some coiled tentacles. Well, they did win and they were following Cyclops’ principle of working as a team to defeat the enemy, as laid out in Uncanny X-Men #514, so it’s not that hard to swallow.
One of the other battles pits Wolverine against Weapon Omega. Wolverine easily takes him down by completely gutting him. As he rams his claws into Weapon Omega’s back so hard and so far that they jam out the front of his belly, Wolverine lashes out with one of the most angry faces you’ll ever see, well… ever, shouting, “You killed a mess o’ my pals up North, Bub. You don’t get to walk away from that.”
He’s referring to the unfortunate events of New Avengers #16, when Weapon Omega (Michael Pointer) as The Collective seemingly killed Mac, Heather, Shaman, both Pucks and Major Mapleleaf, Jr. Compare this to Brian Michael Bendis’ Wolverine in his bizarre initial reaction in New Avengers #17, which was completely out of character and almost as insulting to Alpha Flight fans as the crappy pre-battle dialogue and off-panel death of the team:
Matt Fraction’s Wolverine really gets it. He really understands. Just look at those two panels and decide which one you would associate with Wolverine. Alpha Flight gets a singular honor in this issue with that panel, finally, from the one character we expect to give it. Thanks, Logan, and thanks to Matt Fraction for having more class in the tip of his pinky finger than Brian Michael Bendis has in his whole body.
After the battle, the X-Men assemble to watch Osborn and his defeated teams leave Utopia Island and you can see Jeffries from behind, distinguished grey temples and all. Cyclops then holds yet another press conference and Northstar just sneaks into 3 of the frames, apparently back on his feet.
This concludes the Utopia storyline, setting up for the Nation X storyline to follow.
Note: this issue has a cover variant and a 2nd printing variant.
|Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men: Exodus #1 – Simone Bianchi variant|
|Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men: Exodus #1 – Second printing variant|