The post-life superheroic, mythological existentialist struggle wraps up here, pitching Thunderbird and his band of Dead X-Men against the Carrion Crow, the Eater of the Dead. Allied with the Chaos King, Carrion Crow seeks to bring about eternal darkness, but these X-Men are guided in that struggle by their team’s old foe, Destiny, who takes on the body of Moira MacTaggart to deliver the plan of how Crow must be defeated. Don’t be intimidated by the summarized description, the actual issue reads a lot more cleanly than that.
The story is told from the point of view of Thunderbird, John Proudstar, one-time X-Man and now resurrected hero given a second chance to make good. The problem being making good comes through a major confrontation with the very embodiment of non-existence. Simonson and Claremont continue to give Thunderbird a chance to shine through this story, but the other members of the X-Men around him don’t get much in the way of spotlight save for Banshee, whose death was cheap to begin with. In letting these two characters shine a bit, Simonson and Claremont offer the traditional X-Men “what could have been” ponderances.
The art is reprinted from Braithwaite’s pencil work. Without a strong defining ink line, the figures are vastly overpowered by the bright colors in this issue. As the issue progresses, the line defining the characters darkens, which I am certain is indicative of the handoff between colorists, but I am uncertain which one to attribute it too. The end result is that the second half of the book looks more solid and the characters appear more tangible than the first half.
“Chaos War” closes around the Marvel Universe this week, with effects being felt in the main title and also in “Incredible Hulks.” There are strands from the story left untucked in those books, and fans of the characters in this one could have reason for hope. The book, however, doesn’t end ambiguously, save for the fact that the finales are presumed and Thunderbird’s death is not precisely depicted. While other characters have been brought back, and other wrongs were deemed unnecessary to be righted following the conclusion of the “Chaos War” proper, it remains to be seen if John Proudstar is finally able to rest in peace. I, for one, would welcome more adventures of John (or Jimmy) Proudstar if this creative team could be locked in place to deliver them.