Tuesday, May 16, 2017

X-man Issue #3 (Age of Apocalypse Part 23)

Age of Apocalypse  Part 23

X-Man Issue #3

Written by Jeff Loeb   
Art by Steve Skroce
Inks by Bud LaRosa and Mike Sellers
Lettered by Starkings & Comicraft

Open With:
A close up of Forge and the man known as Essex standing in the shadows behind Forge.  The three Assassins standing in front of Forge demanding that he bring them the “Telepath”.  Forge acts a little coy with the three and then drops a flash grenade on them to temporarily blind them so that he can get away to protect the rest of the Troupe.

Forge runs back to the camp and sees Toad and Mastermind. Forge tells them that Apocalypse has sent his Assassins for Nate and asks Mastermind to come up with a distraction. Just then Domino shows to surprise the two Mutants and again demands the telepath.
Cut To:  

Deep in the woods Nate and Theresa rush back to camp. Nate received the telepathic call from Forge to stay .  However, Nate knows it is trouble and runs after the only man he has known as father.

Back at Camp:

Domino is playing the tough guy with Mastermind and Forge to find out where the telepath is at.  Just then the ground shakes and a Giant Apocalypse appears and grabs Domino and starts to crush her.  Domino quickly surmises that this is a facsimile or an illusion and shots at Mastermind and Forge.

Mastermind is disintegrated to a pile of bones and Domino slowly strides up to Forge and with a gun pointed at Forge’s head says “Next” .

At that point a high flying Nate Grey shows up to fly in and grabs Domino in the center of her body and goes to slam her into a tree. Domino is quick with her reflexes and slams the but of her gun into Nate's face and causing him to miss his target and Domino leaps her way clear of Nate.

Nate attempts to take her out with some telekinetic bursts but the assassin manages to evade them her luck powers.  She returns fire only to find her blasts can’t penetrate Nate’s  “TK Shield”; thus she drops her gun and lunges at Nate with her sword.  The move is so quick that she manages to get the upper hand on Nate and knocks him in the head with the hilt of her sword.

Standing over the body on our young hero, Domino makes the threat that she is there to either Hire him or Fry him. The choice is Nate’s.
Cut Back to Toad and Caliban in the camp:
Toad and Caliban are sparing using swords. Toad makes some quips about the style of fighting that Caliban is using and manages to best him.  However the third assassin named Grizzly manages to grab Toad from behind an chomps down on the Actor’s shoulder and taking him by surprise.
One good turn deserves another and Forge jumps into the Fray and literally does a jump kick to Grizzly’s back.  Thus freeing Toad from the creatures hold and allows Theresa to come in behind him and hit the Assassin with her mutant sonic cry. Forge then quickly slams his robot claws int Grizzly thereby killing him.  

Back at the outskirts of camp:
Domino is distracted by the sound of Grizzly’s death yell which causes her to lower her guard.  Nate is able to then use that opportunity to attack Domino with his Telepathic ability.  He forcefully strips her personality and causes her to slip into a comatose state.  He then gets up and walks away from her inert body.

At the camp:
Nate comes running down the hill calling Forge to see if he is alright.  Forge answers and the two men hug as a father and son would.  They have a momentary heart to heart.  Nate apologizes for being a jerk in the last two issues.  

After the camp has been cleaned up and the dead are taken care of Forge returns to the barn where he last saw the mutant known as Essex.  In the barn he comes up to the body of Brute and discovers that he is dead.  Just then Essex enters the barn and tells Forge that Brute was killed by the woman Domino.  Forge sees through his lies and calls him out on it.  Essex smiles his evil smile and makes comment that what happens next should take too long.  

Cut To Camp:
Nate feels a warning from Forge and sees a mental picture of Forge bruised, bloody, and dying. Nate rund to the barn, and see’s the limp and bloody body of the man he knew only as a father. With his dying breathe Forge sends a telepathic message to Nate to find Magento.  Nate also gets a quick flash of Forges life over the years and the face of the man who killed him; Essex.

The grief causes Nate to erupt a huge wave of telekinetic energy which blows up the barn.  When the debris clears Essex steps up behind Nate and says that he is impressed by the display of power.  Nate turns and blasts the traitor with a TK wave that causes Essex’s body to meltaway and shift into a different form.  

He changes into the form of Mr. Sinister.   To be continued next issue.

THOUGHTS ON THE STORY: This story is another stepping stone getting us closer to the eventual fight between Nate and Mr. Sinister. Nate is able to push his abilities farther to get better control of them.  This chapter of the story sees lots of death to move the main character along.  It is definitely a setup issue for the end. Story flowed very well and the pacing although quick was still able to give enough exposition without slowing down the narrative.

ART: Steve’s Skorce continues to draw this issue.  His art has some interesting line work.  After seeing toad and caliban fight it was a little confusing to tell who was who.  Art was ok , nothing exceptional.  It did allow the overall tale to move at a good pass.

Score 7.5 out of 10