With this sixth trade paperback of X-Men volume three, Victor Gischler wraps up his run on the X-Men, perhaps not completely satisfactory, but as well as he can before being replaced by the incoming Brian Wood on the next volume. Subtitled, The Curse is Broken, the main story of the book deals with the ongoing plight of Jubilee who had become a vampire and her efforts to control her bloodlust. Helping her out are the ‘nice’ vampires of the Marvel Universe, The Forgiven. Of course, Storm and the X-Men are off searching for Jubilee as she has gone missing without a word, only knowing that she is among the vampires and therefore must be in trouble. Soon though, our heroes meet up with Jubilee and The Forgiven and much like good guys always do, they fight among themselves first out of misunderstanding, and then talk about it later realizing their mistake afterwards, and finally battling the real enemy.
Probably the worst thing about this volume is that it does finish off Gischler’s run, which is a shame as he is a really fine writer, and it leaves too many plot threads open. At the end of the story Jubilee heads off with Kaizo and the other vampires and we have to assume that she will learn to control her bloodlust. We only learn later on in later X-Men series that she does in fact do so, but never satisfactorily. Also, the book leaves us on a bit of a cliff-hanger with the vampires behind the machinations against The Forgiven ready to enact their next plan – which never came! Nobody else ever picked up the story to finish it off or continued with the threads that Gischler enacted.
And the worst thing of all happened at the beginning of the whole vampire saga at Marvel and that was the lack of explanation on just how the vampires did return to the Marvel Universe after the Darkhold wiped them all out. It was never explained or explored and we the audience, are just supposed to pretend like it never happened. The same thing would later happen with Brian Bendis who brought back the Guardians of the Galaxy from the Cancerverse without rhyme or reason, and even today, years later, has not explained it whatsoever. It is shoddy writing and more so, editing, to let things like these instances be published and leave the fans wondering what is going on. In cases like this, perhaps it is just supposed to be taken at face value. Vampires are back. The end.
Aside from plot holes and cliff-hangers, the book was actually quite enjoyable. It was a pretty standard superhero romp and Gischler is a fantastic writer. His work is always enjoyable and it was no exception here. It is a shame that he could not have remained on the book and further explored both the vampire world and the X-Men, but all good things as they say. He finishes off his run with a nice little two-part story that ties into Secret Invasion with some Skrulls that just want to go back home and end up facing not only the X-Men, but Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four as well. These two issues also really gave Pixie a chance to shine which was nice to see as she is a very intriguing character who, with further exploration, could really become a major player on the team.
The artwork was pretty solid throughout the book and fairly consistent, even with four different artists sharing the duties. Jorge Molina has some pretty strong pencils and deserves to be on a book in the new Marvel Now era, so here is hoping we get to see him soon. Fun and enjoyable stuff by Victor Gischler and company that ended too prematurely, but did so as they started, with good story and good art.
3.5 out of 5