Keely's Reviews > X-Men Forever, Volume 3: Come To Mother...Russia!

X-Men Forever, Volume 3 by Chris Claremont
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Jan 03, 2015

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The Black Magik story arc comprised of issues #11-14 and illustrated by Tom Grummett has been an acceptable action-adventure story that had enough pivotal character moments to keep it afloat. It's certainly an improvement from the underwhelming Sentinels issues, and their secret history that didn't really intrigue me as much as I hoped. In general, Claremont's X-Men Forever had been a polarizing series for me. I'm officially fifteen issues in and I have never been so frustrated, entertained and at times deeply troubled by a comic book series like with XMF. This third volume is supposed to focus on the titular character, Black Magik, otherwise known as Illyana Rasputin, kid sister of Peter (known as the X-Men, Colossus). However, the character whose development and struggles we focus on is no other than Kitty Pryde.

The main plot may be about Illyana's transformation to Magik and the confrontation between her and the X-Men Gambit, 'Ro, Colossus and Shadowcat but the four issues truly delved more upon the sensitive nature of Kitty's new powers and how she has been handling them ever since she infused with Wolverine through Fabian Cortez back in the first issue. In consequence, she grows a single adamantium claw in one of her knuckles but the change hasn't just been physical; she has also began to display erratic behavior as if there is more than a piece of Logan that was left inside her than just the steel. In addition to that, she's recovering from the massive loss of Wolverine and Storm where the former was brutally murdered by the latter. She stated on several occasions that they were like godparents to her and now one of them is gone forever while the other one vows to kill he next. Clearly, Kitty is having one of the worst times in her life and this volume explores the extent of that.

When her ex-boyfriend Peter did not attend Logan's funeral in issue #10, she went to Russia just to see how he is only to discover that he has just started a relationship with Natasha Romanov, former Avenger known as Black Widow. Gambit asserts at one point that it's as if everyone Kitty counted on in her life has been dropping out of it and she can't do anything to stop it so finding out that Peter was with another was a substantial blow as well though Kitty puts on a brave face and helps him defeat the villain Cossack who was controlling Illyana when she became Black Magik. After she almost killed Cossack, Kitty must come to terms that she may not always be in control of her actions and must now learn to adjust with the adamantium's hold over her or else she may become something sinister just like Illyana's acceptance to become Black Magik.

The parallel between these two characters' choices concerning whether or not to embrace the darkness inside them is an interesting angle for Claremont to take and I would definitely look forward to Kitty's role in the next installments. She and Storm will inevitably cross paths again and I can't wait to see how that unfolds!!

Speaking of uncomfortable parallels, the other female character whose progression in this volume we were able to follow is Jean Grey. She and Logan had romantic feelings for each other for a while now, sharing a strong telepathic bond so when Storm killed Logan, Jean saw and felt it all. Angry, depressed and ashamed, Jean retreats from Scott, her former lover for years while Scott decides to spend a week away from the Xavier Mansion and go back to his parents' house so he can see his son Nathan again. It's worth noting that the entire scope of X-Men Forever has something to do with grief and bereavement which was why we spend a lot of time reading about a particular X-Man's struggle to deal with the loss of their friends as well as the major change concerning the discovery that mutants have a faster expiration date which means that they die young.

Professor X deems this as a "burnout" and he is still conducting an ongoing search for a cure as the rest of his students stopped engaging with him ever since he withheld this important piece of revelation. However, Hank (Beast) had been doing his own research while he's playing sounding board to Jean. The two old friends became a lot closer this time, bonded by their own sadness, until their companionship deepened and the last issue of this volume indicates that Jean has seriously considered entering into a romantic relationship with Hank.

I don't think I like this development but I did say that I won't be too harsh or judgmental towards Jean. I understand that she just lost two men she loved and with the pressure of the inevitable burnout with mutantkind, I suppose she feels desperate to connect and to cling onto something (in this case, someone) who will give her a sense of permanence, a worthwhile passion that can define her days in brighter colors again. But I'd like to believe Jean Grey is more empowered than that. I can't help but feel that her feelings for Hank may not be as genuine as either of them would like to think. I refuse to believe Jean could just stop loving Wolverine just because he is gone; just as much as I don't believe she ever stopped loving Scott at all even now that they couldn't be more further apart. Anyway, I don't want to talk about this anymore until I see where it's headed in the next issues.

Overall, the third volume Come to Mother Russia is a fast-paced and accessible read but not something that is of superb quality. At this time, nothing has yet to surpass the five-issued clusterfuck awesomeness that was Love--And Loss!

RECOMMENDED: 7/10

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Reading Progress

January 3, 2015 – Shelved
January 20, 2015 – Started Reading
January 20, 2015 –
page 78
65.0% "Finished three issues and totally loving it! A great improvement from the last volume. Peter (Colossus) and Natasya (Black Widow) are together now, and then we zero-in on Kitty (WHO IS FABULOUS!) and the teenage Ororo; some accidental Jean/Hank, a great Rogue moment and a touching heart-to-heart between Nick Fury and Professor X."
January 21, 2015 –
page 100
83.33% "OH MY FUCKING GOD JEAN GREY JUST WHAT THE FUCK? From one triangle to the next already? Holy shit. A serviceable ending. No story arc has yet to surpass Love--And Loss as of yet."
January 22, 2015 – Finished Reading

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