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Amazing X-Men Volume 2: World War Wendingo Paperback – January 6, 2015
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Bonus: 6 Pages of Pencils & Inks
After an explosive first collection that brought Nightcrawler back from the dead (see: Amazing X-Men Volume 1: The Quest for Nightcrawler ), volume 2 settles into what seems to be the hallmarks for the series. Amazing X-Men Amazing X-Men is lighter superhero fare with writers Craig Kyle and Chris Yost delivering some genuinely humorous moments between moments of brawling. Amazing X-Men also seems to spotlight some of X-Men that aren't usually prominently featured. The team roster features Iceman, Firestar, Nightcrawler, Colossus, Northstar, Rockslide, Marvel Girl (Rachel Summers/Grey), and Storm.
This collection opens with an amusing team up issue. X-Men Iceman and Firestar are tasked with getting groceries. They end of teaming with Spider-Man to save a baby, a goat, and sports history.
The meat of this collection, however, is the Wendigo story. In a macabre set up, a murder disposes of his victim by turning him into ground beef. The beef is distributed throughout Canada. In Canada, a curse turns anyone who has eaten human flesh into a Wendigo. The X-Men team up with Alpha Flight to solve the Wendigo outbreak that threatens to overrun the entire world.
Amazing X-Men continues in Amazing X-Men Volume 3: Once and Future Juggernaut
So in Canada in the Marvel universe, there's a spiritual curse that those who eat human flesh would become Wendigo, and those they bite and scratch would also receive the curse. Considering the story starts with a murder at a meatpacking plant and the body is ground up and shipped out with the rest of the product, you can probably guess the results. The title of the story is probably a good indication too.
Aside from that, Wolverine has also made a trip up to Canada to help his old friend Heather Hudson find her husband James, who's gone missing after a pretty big argument. The Hudsons are also part of the Canadian superhero team, Alpha Flight. With his tracking skills, Logan and Heather track James to a seemingly abandoned town. It's here we get a cool moment where Logan uses his skills to figure out that James was attacked by a Wendigo. What I really liked about that moment is that it showed more of a detective side to Logan that I haven't seen before and another way his powers could be used.
Meanwhile back at the Jean Grey school, Colossus has returned to join the team. He's greeted by Nightcrawler and they have a funny conversation about how they've both died and come back. I must say, considering that the last few years has shown him to be possessed by the Gem of Cyttorak and gained Juggernaut's powers (earning him the fan name "Juggerlossus") and has been part of Cable's violent X-Force team, it's gonna be nice to see Colossus back in a more traditional role with the X-Men.
In addition, Storm is trying to find Logan at the school, worried about him being out alone since he's lost his healing factor. What I like about this is that it shows that Storm is the mother figure of the group, worried about the others and wanting them to bring out the best in them. She's able to get the answer of Logan's whereabouts from Iceman, and they have a good conversation that's called back to later in the story. She then has Rachael Summers use Cerebro to get an exact location. Rachael's having trouble, but once Storm threatens to just let her "teenage mother", she gets a hit, discover the situation . To clear something up, Storm was referring to the Jean Grey from the past shown in "All-New X-Men". And to clear THAT up, Rachael is the daughter of Scott and Jean from a possible future. To the casual fan, that may seem weird, but for long time readers, displaced characters from alternate timelines and futures are quite normal. If you see an X-Men character, there's like a 10% chance they're not from the present. I can name three more right off the bat: Bishop, Cable, and X-Man (who he himself is an alternate version of Cable). But I'm getting off point. Back to the story.
What I liked about the last arc by Aaron was the interaction between the characters. Thankfully, Yost and Kyle have retained that aspect. Aside from the interactions I've mentioned before, we also get more interaction between Iceman and Firestar, which only furthers my hopes that they enter a relationship at some point.
We also get more of a look at Northstar, who didn't have much spotlight in the last arc. The only aspects I really ever knew about the character were that he was gay and could fly at super speeds. After getting to know him, he seems a little stuck up at first but once you get to know him, you can see there's a caring person in there, shown when he rushes to save a girl from Wendigo, even when Nightcrawler is already trying to help her. We then meet his twin sister Aurora, also part of Alpha Flight, and let's just say that she's even more stuck up than he is and kind of has a cold personality. I guess it makes for good conflict between the siblings. Considering it's my first real time reading the two characters, I'll assume they're always like that.
I've mentioned Alpha Flight a couple times in this post already, so I feel I should mention my thoughts on them since this is pretty much a team-up story between them and the X-Men. I have no past reading about Alpha Flight and this story didn't do much to get me interested in them. That is all.
We're also treated to an appearance by the Avengers, specifically the big (Cap, Thor, and Stark), who are helping keep the Wendigo virus from spreading into the US while the X-Men handle it in Canada. They're not a big part of the story, but I actually like their appearance here. In a lot of recent Marvel stories, the Avengers are the main team to help stop the threat while other characters like the X-Men are there in a more supporting role. To see it reversed here is a nice change of pace.
There's one thing I also think is relevant to speak about here: Wolverine. While it's his team and he makes an appearance, he is quickly incapacitated 2/5 into the story because he himself has become a Wendigo. That leaves the rest of the team to stop the curse. This is pretty significant because this is the last arc starring Wolverine before his recent death take effect in the series. I've been worried that the future lack of Wolverine would make me lose interest, but after reading this story and seeing other great characters interact with one another, it shows that while Wolverine's the flagship X-Men character, he's not necessary to tell good stories (now someone tell Fox that; ha ha). In a way, "World War Wendigo" could be seen as a way to ween readers off of Wolverine before he totally gone "forever" (considering how comic book deaths work, you know the reason for the quotation marks).
If there's one thing I found lacking in this story, it was the ending. It gets a little crazy when part of the team enters the spirit realm to stop the Wendigo curse at the source, but there is a pretty awesome moment where some of the heroes are granted god-like elemental forms (lightning for Storm, fire for Firestar, and ice for Iceman) to stop the big bad. Aside from that, the ending is kind of rushed too. In the "Quest for Nightcrawler" arc, we had the main story in five issues with a fallout issue after that with Kurt getting a welcome home celebration. In "World War Wendigo", after the curse is destroyed, we aren't shown much other than characters recovering and we're left wondering whether a little girl's mother is alive or dead after everything that happened. It just needed more in my opinion.
But aside from its problems, Yost and Kyle continue what made Aaron's initial arc for the series so enjoyable: good character interaction and heroes being heroes. If you liked Aaron's "Quest for Nightcrawler", you should be able to enjoy Yost and Kyle's "World War Wendigo" and look forward to what those two have up their sleeve next.
STORY RATING: 7/10
RECOMMENDATION RATING 9/10