X-Men: Manifest Destiny Written by Jason Aaron, Mike Carey, Frank Tieri
Drawn by Michael Ryan, Stephen Segovia, Takeshi Miyazawa
Release date: May 13, 2009
Having been decimated, become an endangered species, and developed a Messiah Complex, it is safe to say that the X-Men have had a rough couple of years. The years have not been kind to the merry mutants as their population dwindled and the hatred toward them increase twice fold. In their latest storyline, Manifest Destiny, with their home in ruins and with no allies to be found, the X-Men have decided to abandon their home in Westchester and set up shop in mutant friendly San Francisco. It is there with Warren Worthington’s (aka Angel) money, they set up a new facility to house any mutant in need of shelter, sort of like a new age Xavier Academy.
The storyline is actually pretty entertaining but too bad it is not in this hardcover. X-Men: Manifest Destiny hardcover does not collect the main story but rather the back stories and various mini-series that spun off from the storyline itself. One of the mini-series that it collects are Wolverine: Manifest Destiny, where fists fly and kung fu chops are thrown as Wolvie must confront his past in the heart of San Francisco’s Chinatown. In Nightcrawler: Manifest Destiny, our favorite elf heads off to a museum dedicated to him and the monster that lurks the area. Other back up stories revolving around Iceman, Mystique, and Boom-Boom that were presented as back up stories are also published in this book.
While Marvel puts out some pretty quality trades, I am not a huge fan of how they market their books. Having two similar X-Men titles with the same title is not a mistake by any means. It is an attempt to cash in on readers who think they are getting the second part of the storyline when it fact it is just a collection of back up stories and minis. Now, I know readers need to be more aware of the books they buy and not just snack up anything and everything that has the word X-Men on them, but how would a non casual fan know what it is?
There are a few good stories in the hardcover. Jason Aaron‘s story is decent. His writing is tight and he does quite an entertaining Wolverine. I actually never imagined the character could be in a kung fu style action story but Aaron makes it work. He also creates some interesting characters for him to fight. My only problem with it was that it just seems to go a bit too long for my taste. It seemed like it could have easily been done in three issues and there wasn’t a really good villain for me to care enough about the story. The ending was just not exciting enough for me to really care about the situation. The rest of the stories are entertaining, at best but just not up to the caliber of a story that would deserve a hardcover format. There is a nice standalone story involving Nightcrawler and Shadowcat, which is worth a read but only when this hardcover turns into a trade paperback.
The art is decent but not exactly something that is special. Stephen Segovia‘s art reminds me of Leinil Yu’s art but without the storyboarding talent. His art is perfectly fine, don’t get me wrong, but it just doesn’t pop as much as Yu’s art and I think it has a lot to do with the panel placement. The only art that actually stands out is Takeshi Miyazawa‘s. It pops and literally jumps off the pages.
Overall, I would recommend that you pick up the Manifest Destiny hardcover but only the one that follows the storyline. If you are a fan of the X-Men, you might want to consider picking this up but if you are a casual fan, stick with the main hardcover. This collection of one shots is just not worth it.