Extraordinary X-Men: Kingdoms Fall – Jeff Lemire, Victor Ibanez, Brandon Montclare, Ollie Masters, Carlo Barberi & Rosi Kampe (Panini / Marvel)

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How does that old snippet of wisdom go? It’s always darkest before the dawn, or something like that anyway. Well, the Extraordinary X-Men, hiding away from the Terrigen clouds in their Limbo based Haven experience the long night of their collective souls in Kingdoms Fall, Jeff Lemire’s story that seperates and then brings back together Marvel’s premier mutants for the fight of their super-powered lives and ends in triumph and heartbreak.  Nightcrawler and Ice Man go in search of the “changed” Colossus, Forge desperately searches for a cure for the aforementioned Russian X-Man while trying to keep his composure in the face of Apocalypse’s  merciless baiting and Majik and Storm chase Sapna through a multitude of dimensions before discovering something terrible lurking in the magical planes. Something with a taste for all things magical and a hunger that can only be satiated by devouring Limbo and everything, and everyone, in it.

Kingdoms Fall brings the pupil and master story of Sapna and Majik to a close, provides an enjoyable finale to the Clan Akkaba,  Apocalypse and Colossus story and pits the X-Men against a multi-dimensional horror that would have given old Howard Phillips Lovecraft nightmares.  It’s a no-holds barred slugfest that shakes the X-Men’s school to its very foundations  and then shatters your heart into a million pieces. Lemire’s  tale of duty and sacrifice lets its bold characterisation, dialogue and story-telling do all the talking as they take centre stage in a gorgeously rendered, thanks to Victor Ibanez, adventure that draws all things Extraordinary to a close and prepares the way for whatever’s coming next.  Fleshed out with the first Extraordinary X-Men Annual in which politics are pushed aside so that Logan and company can stage a highly unauthorised, and lifesaving, prison break and Forge is saved from possible death by M-Pox by Moon Girl, Kingdoms Fall is one heck of a way to while away an afternoon. And if Jeff Lemire can make an X-Men fan out of a long-time non-believer like me, then he can sure as Wolverine goes ‘Snikkt’ do the same to, and for, you. It’s time to mutate… Tim Mass Movement



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