Stew’s Reviews: Curse Of The Mutants

Comic book sales!

Wait, is something a “sale” if it happens every day? Or is that just a discount? How does that… what is the difference?

Whatever, I’m going to call it a sale.

My favorite local shop runs a perpetual sale where if you buy at least 50 back issue comics, you get 50% the total price. I’ve always been enticed by the idea, but I try to avoid too much back issue shopping because if I really let myself go, I’d buy 800 comics and try recoup much of what I lost from my formative years. And then my wife would be very upset at me forever and ever.

But recently, I had logged up enough stuff I wanted to look for to where I thought it might be worth a check. So I went digging and came out with 52 new (“new”) comics! For, like, $90, so that’s not bad, right?

It was mostly a little exercise of “Well, I have trades of [BOOK] up until issue [NUMBER]; can I find any issues after that?”, and then I did, and then I bought them.

But there were a few other things that I saw that I knew I might enjoy for one reason or another, so I gave them a shot.

Like…

TITLE: X-Men: Curse Of The Mutants

Writer and Artist: Victor Gischler and Paco Medina

Publisher: Marvel

Protagonists: The X-Men

Antagonists: Xarus and his vampire legion

X-Men: Curse Of The Mutants runs through X-Men (volume 3) #1-6, and it’s the story the heroic mutants facing off with vampires!

It takes place during one of the biggest X-blindpots for me: The Utopia era. X-Men shortly after the Morrison and Whedon runs is this nebulous concept for me where, like, Hope was born, they fight the Avengers, they moved to San Francisco for a while… just a bunch of stuff happened. And then Krakoa and all the House of X stuff! At least I am aware–and read some–of that!

For those equally (or more!) unaware, Utopia was a time where the X-Men owned their own island off of San Francisco and declared it a haven for all mutants. I’m… not sure if it was considered part of the United States or a separate mutant nation, but it’s basically what Hickman decided Krakoa was, but ten years earlier.

Whoops!

In the wake of Dracula’s death, his son, Xarus, has gotten all the various vampire sects into one alliance, and his next goal is to get mutants with him, too. Hated and feared by regular folks, he senses a kinship with mutants and decides to get them on his side… willingly or by turning them.

His plan starts off with a biological suicide bomber that infects a lot of people in San Fran with a mild form of vampirism that causes them to seek out vamps to either be fed upon or turned. And one of the victims is Jubilee, who eventually gives in to the call and is turned by Xarus (so THAT’S when that happened).

Jubes works with Xarus to trick and turn Wolverine. The vampires attack Utopia but are handily defeated. Wolverine heals from being a vampire. And Dracula (OH YEAH, The X-Men revived Dracula just on the off chance he’d be pissed at Xarus and kill him for them) kills Xarus for them. Then Cyclops has a pretty bad-ass big-dick-swinging moment where he makes Dracula leave them alone.

Also, Blade is there to help out. Because Vampires.

I’m… so confused about Marvel vampirism.

So they mention several times in this book–and in other vamps-based X-Men stories–that vampires are the undead. In the sequel to this run, Jubilee mentions that she doesn’t breathe and her heart doesn’t beat anymore. So turning into a vampire ACTIVELY KILLS YOU, and then you rise as a vamp. That’s why holy water and sunlight hurts vampires, because they are unnatural and undead creatures. Makes sense so far!

And Cyclops inserts nanobots into Wolverine’s bloodstream that turn off his healing factor (why doesn’t his healing factor attack the nanobots? Because shut up). So Jubilee is able to turn (read: KILL) Wolverine. And during the siege on Utopia, Cyclops shuts off the nanobots, so Wolverine’s healing factor kicks back in, fighting off the vampirism.

SO WAIT.

Did Wolverine’s healing factor REVERSE DEATH? Because his healing has some absolutely insane feats in the comics, but that’s still just about unprecedented. Especially given that it happened almost immediately upon Scott pressing the button. Logan “Argh!”‘s or whatever, and then he is better.

Also, I don’t quite understand what vampirism does because it 100% turns its victims insta-evil. Jubilee and Wolverine were straight up “Yep, let’s conquer the world for vampirism and eat the X-Men” as soon as they were turned.

So is the idea that being a vampire kills you AND you lose your soul since you are dead? Is that why they lose their morality?

So did Wolverine HEAL HIS SOUL BACK?

I do feel like there is some precedent for good vampires in Marvel (again, in the sequel to this, they mention some farmer vampires that don’t feed on people and have control), so what’s the difference between their condition and that of Logan and Jubilation?

I have so many questions!

And I don’t mean that in necessarily a “this is poorly written” kind of way. I just really want to know the answer to these because I think it’s quite interesting. Jubilee herself would eventually be healed from her vampirism, but that was by a part of the Phoenix Force, so it makes sense if it completely undid a death to cure her.

Marvel hasn’t given a poop about canon and continuity in years, but I want an editor from back when they still did to give me a TED talk on this matter.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Overall

Oh yeah, I didn’t talk about the book at all, right? I got distracted by my queries. Well, I like the art. Paco Medina is a very “look at my female characters’ bodies” kind of artist, but his work is bright and bold and impressive. The story is a bit unbalanced and feels rushed. Xarus feels like this looming threat for four issues of build, then he is easily defeated and made to look like a clown. But some of the character work is good. It’s overall a bit better than average, I’d say.

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