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Even within the Marvel 2099 universe, the concept of the messiah figure arriving to change people’s destiny has been used. What is notable about this concept, apart from being a cliché, is that it was implemented so close to the end of the X-Men 2099 monthly series in the mid-1990s and the 2099 editor Joey Cavalieri was fired by Marvel Comics at a time of corporate turmoil. The firing led to the resignation of other writers who were sympathetic with Cavalieri. It should be noted that the last time Cavalieri’s name was listed on the credits was in issue #31.
As such, things went downhill for Marvel Comics and the 2099 line as a whole. In retrospect, did the messiah concept result any improvements for the quality of the X-Men 2099 franchise?
This is my retro comic book review of X-Men 2099 #34, published in 1996 by Marvel Comics with a story written by John Francis Moore and drawn by Jan Duursema.
The story begins with the monstrous-looking Vulcann instantly transforming Joachim (the son of Eddie/Metalhead and Rosa) from infant form into an adult. When asked by the now-grown Joachim who he is, Vulcann lies to him saying: I am your lord and master. My word is absolute as is my love for you. Obey me and I will give you a world that will worship at your feet.
Meanwhile during a stormy day just outside of Halo City, Skullfire, Luna and Krystalin arrive in floating motorcycles. Their new task, which is very daunting, is to help as much as possible as the sea level has risen so much it has flooded the city they are responsible for (as the protectorate).
Shortly after, the X-Men and others meet in Halo City’s tower digitally communicating with Savant who explains that weather patterns around the world are equally aberrant as the storm affecting the city. He also mentions that based on the findings of Alchemax Geotechs, the polar ice caps were melting at an alarming rate…
First of all, I should say that effort was made to raise the stakes within the story. The introduction of the adult Joachim guided by the evil, over-sized Vulcann was meant to show a twisted take of Christianity’s God and Jesus and turn it into a new anti-hero force against the X-Men.. Then there is the shock on Joachim’s parents, Xi’an’s return to the city and the global weather instability caused by the arrival of another moon orbiting Earth.
The problem here is that the story as a whole was not very compelling, even though the creative team brought heavy spotlight back on the X-Men after spending it on Xi’an and the Lawless. Speaking of X-Men relevance, the creators also brought Shakti back to this monthly series ending her absence (note: she was with the youth team X-Nation which had its own series). Granted, the stakes were raised but the payoff was not too strong specifically for this comic book.
Along the way, Jan Duuersema did what she could to make this story look good.
To put it bluntly, X-Men 2099 #34 has the weakest story since before issue #25. In this comic book, I did not care much about the rushed return of Xi’an and Shakti in Halo City. I should also state that having Vulcann and Joachim parallel Christianity’s God and Jesus was done in a very bad taste even though the purpose (apart from giving the X-Men opposition) was to show that the X-Men themselves are no longer worthy to be mutantkind’s standard-bearers right in the city filled with many mutants and other outcasts. The portrayal of the X-Men, meanwhile, felt hollow and not worth caring for which makes the return of the spotlight on them a waste.
If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of X-Men 2099 #34, be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $6 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $21.
Overall, I don’t recommend buying X-Men 2099 #34 above fifty cents. Better save your money.
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