uncas007's The X-Men #31 - We Must Destroy... the Cobalt Man! review

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"If that's the best you can do -- I'll take it!"

Once again we have what could be a great X-Men issue were it not for the main plot/conflict. As others have noted, the characters moments driving the first half of the issue are great, considering where we are in the development of the X-Universe. Warren finally takes some initiative with the Love Triangle, even though he seems to contradict himself somewhat (at first he wants Jeannie to decide but eventually he just gives her over to Scott and her college buddies - too much competition scares him off? possibly, but more like he simply believes what he says, "plenty of more fish in the sea"). Warren meeting an old friend could seem a bit forced, but it actually comes off rather well (with only a few dialogue miscues by Thomas), giving Warren a new facet to his character. At least he is better at forestalling his date than Hank and Bobby, who just walk out each time. Hank's humorous moments actually work well, also, especially with his brief serious internal monologue panel, a very refreshing change utilized (some argue too much) frequently by Chris Claremont later. Even the brief Jeannie and the Roberts Brothers scenes work well at the beginning, in part because it clarifies a confusing aspect of the previous few issues as to whether Jean was back full-time with the X-Men or just moonlighting during her vacation. The brief note Calvin Rankin is back at college was a sufficient postscript to that failed mini-arc (his registrar is probably not too happy, though). Xavier's assistance in helping Scott get together with Jean was also a nice touch, with fortunately no panels about Xavier's unrequited love for her. Why no one bothers to come out and say anything about anything (other than Warren) is a smidge confusing, but at least Thomas is finally making some progress not only with the Jean/Scott relationship but also Jean's actual personality and confidence.

The real downer is, of course, the entire Cobalt Man fiasco. As Byzantine said in the previous review, Cobalt Man's man antagonism is with Iron Man not the X-Men, so why he goes mad and trashes his own equipment and attacks the "villainous" X-Men whom he assumes are in league with Iron Man simply for mentioning his name is inscrutable and disappointing after such a great start to the issue. Similarly inscrutable is Xavier's behavior toward the end: he laments in several recent issues how he loathes sending the X-Men into danger, but when he gets the message from their deus ex machina Dick Tracy wristwatches Scott and Jean are in serious trouble but not mortal danger, he'll just send the rest of the X-Men and not be bothered to pause his experiments (in front of the mysterious door). A bit confusing, Charles. In the final showdown, Thomas continues another of the recent flaws by having the characters say out loud exactly what the artwork says they are doing - just let Werner Roth does his part, please, sir. It is a nice touch having Scott come up with a plan and having the others recognize his leadership again (especially coupled with the renewed friendship between Scott and Warren at the beginning), but this is marred somewhat by most of them doubting the efficacy of the plan (especially Hank, for no apparent reason) and continually reminding us every panel "if we fail, the world is over!" Thomas wraps it all up in the last page (as becoming usual), the villain forgets who he is, and all is usual. Until...Ted Roberts hints he may have realized Jean Grey is actually Marvel Girl! As obvious as it is, considering she only has a Catwoman mask on and the same recognizable red hair (pointed out earlier by Warren), it does give us a nice touch of suspense. A pretty good issue marred by Thomas's inability to finish (or have meaningful antagonists).

Other reviews for The X-Men #31 - We Must Destroy... the Cobalt Man!

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    Roy Thomas uses the issue to resolve a number of the series' subplots. Paying some attention to the personal lives of the characters, ending the resident love triangle (Warren-Jean-Scott), introducing Ralph Roberts. And setting ip a couple of subplots for the following issues.   Unfortunately, the issue also attempts to introduce a new villain. Cobalt Man never found a proper place among the rogues' gallery of the X-Men. Particularly since the fellow doesn't have any real motivation to go after ...

    2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

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