There’s never the right amount of mutants in X-Men comics. There are either almost no mutants at all (thanks, Wanda) or there are way too many. In X-MEN BLUE #26, we’re dealing with the latter. The scary and mysterious Mothervine has finally landed in numerous cities, infecting hundreds of humans and turning them into mutants.

Cullen Bunn, R.B. Silva, and Rain Beredo begin to pull together some of the numerous plotlines from past X-MEN BLUE issues, weaving an intricate web that continues to inch closer to climax. Because Bunn brings up numerous plot points in one issue, X-MEN BLUE #26 borders on confusing. But, a central fight scene between the new Blue team and a group of Sentinels anchors the issue fairly well and keeps those side plot points from changing the focus too much.

It’s the Mysterious Mothervine vs. the Master of Magnetism in X-MEN BLUE #24

Fledgling Mutants Take to the Streets in X-MEN BLUE #26

X-MEN BLUE #26 opens inside of the time-displaced X-Men’s spaceship. Things seem to be looking up for the boys as their ship’s power system turns back on but Cyclops isn’t exactly happy to be heading back home without Jean.

X-MEN BLUE #26
Image Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Back on Earth, the Mothervine formula Sentinels dropped in major cities in X-MEN BLUE #25 is taking full effect. Tons of humans are transforming into mutants and, as Carmella Unuscione shows us, those who are already mutants are getting a serious power boost. The Blue team shows up in San Francisco to handle the situation, but they’re quickly met with an ethical dilemma. The Sentinels the Blue team are destroying are actually helping new and old mutants become accustomed to their powers. Mothervine enhances mutant powers so much that it causes serious health defects, but the Sentinels light beams help dampen their superpowered abilities.

The Blue team decides to take down the Sentinels anyway and rely on Xorn’s healing powers to take care of the overpowered mutants. On the other end of the Mothervine attack, Emma Frost, Havok, and Miss Sinister discuss strategy. Emma is upset about Miss Sinister’s plan to create a slave race out of Earth’s new mutants. But Havok assures Emma that once Mothervine is complete, they can dispose of Sinister. Still, Emma seems hesitant.

In the last scene of the issue, the Marauders attack Magneto in the Blue team’s headquarters in Madripoor. With them are a few of the newly-transformed mutants who the Marauders plan to use to take down the X-Men.

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Out of Control

After the Scarlet Witch practically ended Mutantkind in the HOUSE OF M series, the creation of new homo superiors was extremely important. Without new mutants, the X Gene would die and mutants would be no more. Nothing seemed better than having a world full of mutants to carry on the gene.

But, as X-MEN BLUE #26 shows, fantasies shouldn’t always become reality. The premise of this issue is both really unique and still completely relevant to the X-Men franchise. Bunn is tapping into what I think a lot of people have probably wondered about when reading X-Men series: what if everyone was homo superior? Would there still be violence and hatred and wars? Would mutants finally get the respect they deserve?

X-MEN BLUE #26
Image Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

The short answer is no. Mothervine — which causes spontaneous mutation in humans — also causes mutants to lose control of their powers. Without control, the world becomes a chaotic battlefield, full of people with strange and dangerous mutations. I think Bunn is trying to show us how in every situation — in every seemingly idyllic fantasy — there is some underlying danger. The issues mutants face (bigotry, hate crimes, etc.) are not easily resolved and spontaneously turning everyone into mutants isn’t going to make everything better. It’s a hard lesson to learn but, in the world of X-Men, it’s a needed one.

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Lovers No More

X-MEN BLUE #26 is an all-around good issue, but I personally think its strength comes from (mostly) one place: Lorna Dane aka Polaris. The green-haired hero is finally getting the attention she deserves after years of being pushed aside for more “popular” characters. Although ALL-NEW X-FACTOR starred Polaris, the series was short-lived and didn’t give the Mistress of Magnetism’s fans everything they wanted (i.e. their costumes were really, really bad). Finally, Lorna is being treated like the badass heroine she is.

The past couple of issues have definitely been preparing for a heated fight between Polaris and Havok — the famous once lovers, now enemies. X-MEN BLUE #26 exacerbates this even more as Polaris tries to help the newly transformed mutants. While they lack control (and can do some serious damage) a lot of the new mutants are just kids who’re scared and in pain. Polaris doesn’t hesitate to blame Havok for hurting innocents, who, not surprisingly, deserves that blame. Later in the issue, Havok callously states that forcing mutation on people is a “means to an end.” Wow, what a nice guy. Let’s just say the fight between Polaris and her old ex will definitely be one you don’t want to miss.

x-men blue #26
Image Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Silva is Back

Artist R.B. Silva, who illustrated X-MEN BLUE #18-20 is back and better than ever! The art in both X-MEN GOLD and X-MEN BLUE has been extremely inconsistent, with numerous artists randomly joining and leaving the creative teams for both series. When this happens, a series can begin to feel disjointed and mismatched. The styles individual artists bring to comics are always unique, which means they can easily clash. Going from a very realistic style in one issue to a more abstract style in the next can be jarring.

This is why I’m so glad R.B. Silva is back on X-MEN BLUE (at least for this issue). His artistic approach is realistic but he still brings the right amount of stylization that makes it unique. The way he draws the Sentinels in X-MEN BLUE #26 is especially impressive. The towering robotic giants look like they could walk right off the page!

x-men blue #26
Image Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Final Thoughts

X-MEN BLUE has had some lulls in the past, but the past two issues, X-MEN BLUE#25 and 26, have proved that this series has the ability to be really great. Bunn continues to bring well-written dialogue and storylines that include characters who rarely get this much panel-time (like Unuscione!) While it’s clear that the time-displaced X-Men will return soon (probably really soon), the new Blue team is making X-MEN BLUE one of the best X-Men series out at the moment.

X-MEN BLUE #26 by Cullen Bunn, R.B. Silva, and Rain Beredo
Plot
Characterization
Art
Summary
Bunn and co. deliver an electrifying issue that sees the expansion of Mothervine and the creation of a new breed of mutants. As scary as it is to see a world so overcome with cruel, forced transformations, Bunn's masterful storytelling and Silva's linework will leave readers ready to take on the vicious Havok themselves!
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