Graphic Novel Review: X-Men: Bloodline

X-Men: Bloodline

X-Men: Bloodline - Credit: Archant

The Future is now for the X-Men...

(Panini Books)

Since Kitty Pryde travelled back from the Days of Future Past era to change the course of history, the X-Men have had an uneasy relationship with linear causality, weaving between the timelines with reckless abandon and populating their ranks with members from yesterday and tomorrow.

While the current presence of the original teenage X-Men in the present day has thrown a massive pebble into the pool of time, sending ripples back and forwards through the years, there’s also the matter of the future mutants who stayed behind after the Battle of the Atom crossover to contend with.

One of these, Storm’s daughter Kymera, wants to prevent a traumatic event which left the team devastated in its wake, but without meddling too much with her own recollections of history.

After sociopathic criminal The Future escapes from jail, he is revealed as the father of baby Shogo, the adopted son of X-Man Jubilee, and wants him back to raise as his heir. In Kymera’s timeline he succeeds, with horrendous consequences for both Shogo and Jubes, and she is here to make sure that does not happen.

Unable to kidnap his son, The Future takes Jubilee instead, and tries to exchange her for Shogo, a deal the X-Men are not prepared to accept…

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Meanwhile, in a back-up story, Psylocke has a dubious relationship with a virtual reality warrior she is forced to confront in battle in order to save her students’ lives. Really, it’s as bad as it sounds, so the less said about this tale the better...

One has to hope that Marvel are deliberating peppering their books with time travellers attempting to change the course of history, as this is a trope which is becoming more and more prevalent as of late.

The Future is a bit of a one-note villain introduced to serve as a plot device rather than with any overarching purpose, and yet it makes a refreshing change for the X-Men to battle a foe free of much of the baggage which surrounds their usual antagonists.

Although it’s raison d’être is ostensibly to offer a platform for the X-Men’s female members, this series is floundering in comparison with its peers, lacking the cohesion and direction that one might expect, especially with a seasoned writer like Brian Wood at the helm.

There’s nothing wrong with a back-to-basics approach to the mutant superheroes, complete with the angst and soul-searching which has been a characteristic of the teams since the Chris Claremont days, but it needs something extra to stand out from the glut of X-books currently being published.

The roster of Storm, Jubilee, Psylocke, Rachel Grey and Monet is certainly a strong one, with a nice mix of powers and personalities, which makes it even more surprising that Wood hasn’t been able to achieve more during his run.

With this storyline bringing his writing tenure to a close, incoming scribe Marc Guggenheim will hopefully be able to bring a much-needed new focus to this adjectiveless X-Men title, and do justice to the characters featured therein.