It’s been over a year in real time since Cable jumped into the future with the baby “messiah” Hope.
They’ve had a long journey since leaving the present. Leaping from time period to time period in order to escape the now maddened Bishop, the once trusted X-Man has now been consumed by his quest for vengeance in order to make sure his dystopian timeline does not come to pass.
Unbeknownst to the “Father-Daughter” team though, they have more than just Bishop to worry about.
We looked at her birth, now we take a peek into her scarred childhood.
On today’s episode of Retro Vision, we look at Pt. 2 of the “Hope Saga”: Messiah War.
It’s the exciting sequel to 2007′s Messiah Complex! Cyclops has complete faith that his son, Cable, will do everything he can to protect the so-called mutant messiah – who he believes will save mutantkind. But he also knows what havoc former X-Man Lucas Bishop has wreaked in the nightmarish future. So now he’s sent his black ops team, the X-Force, on a risky, time-traveling mission to save Cable and the child, completely unaware that there’s something else waiting for them in the future. Something not even Bishop was counting on…
Things haven’t gotten better for the X-Men in the present either, with Charles Xavier still recovering from the near fatal wound he suffered in MC, and Bishop leaping after Cable & Hope in order to kill the girl, Cyclops has grown desperate trying to protect what’s left of the mutant race until Hope & his son return.
In desperation, he has commissioned an all new X-Force team, made up of the X-Men’s most ruthless fighters and killers, in order to covertly stop potential and current threats to mutant kind, usually by (you guessed it) killing. The team is led by Wolverine (Of Course), and consists of: X-23 (Wolverine’s female clone), Warpath (brother of deceased X-Man Thunderbird), Wolfsbane (Former New mutant with the ability to turn into a werewolf, she has left the team by the time this story takes place), Elixir (A former New X-Man, acts as the teams healer, but also has the ability to decay, or cause disease to whatever he touches), Angel (Whose Archangel personality has reemerged), Domino (The sultry assassin with the ability to alter probability), & Vanisher (Former X-villain who “volunteered” for the team after Elixir implanted a tumor in his brain).
Cyclops, thinking Cable has been gone too long, sends X-Force after him, much to Wolverine’s chagrin. They arrive in the year 2973 equipped with “time-bands” that keep them in the future and tell them they have 32.5 hours to complete their mission, before the bands accelerate their biology to the current time and kill them. They soon discover that taking off their bands doesn’t automatically return them to the present like it should, and that Vanisher’s ability doesn’t seem to work either.
They soon encounter Deadpool (naturally), who then “volunteers” to help X-Force find Cable. They eventually find the time lost mutant, but are then told they walked into a trap as Cable shows them the powerful X-Man villain Apocalypse’s citadel in the distance.
Deadpool explains how he survived for 900 years and reveals that Cable’s clone, Stryfe now rules the future. Stryfe has also formed a “partnership” with Bishop, who agrees to help Stryfe kill Apocalypse, who is still alive, in exchange for Hope.
X-Force, Cable, & Deadpool engage Stryfe, Deadpool revealed to be working for Stryfe (Of course), and the team being defeated, with Warpath and Hope being captured in the process.
The rest of the story revolves around Cable & X-Force trying to get their comrades back, defeating Stryfe, finding out why they are unable to return to the present, and dealing with a newly rejuvenated Apocalypse, brought back to health by Archangel, all before time runs out.
The story is a bit different than “Messiah Complex”. Whereas MC was a crossover between ALL the X-Books, Messiah War only focuses on the Cable and newly revamped X-Force books. So we follow the same characters rather than a different set every part. Allowing for a tighter story since the writers, Chris Yost & Craig Kyle (X-Force) & Duane Swierczynski (Cable), can focus only on characters they have been developing rather than tackling ones they haven’t written before. There are a couple of elements that are pretty good, like the “time running out scenario” adding a sense of urgency for the team, Deadpool telling his survival story was pretty entertaining, and seeing the different time periods Hope & Cable jumped through was interesting as well, as we get to see how the world began to end up how it was. There are also a couple of surprises for the team along the way, like the reason why they can’t return to the present and the effect it has on X-23.
While I didn’t like how Apocalypse was kind of downplayed and was weak through about 70% of the story, I let it slide since the real villains of the book were Stryfe and Bishop. Who have an interesting partnership, with the former being curious about why Bishop wants Hope so badly.
Deadpool is delightfully crazy as always.
Hope is the best character here, a few times you see things through her eyes and how she deals with what’s going on around her. She is still a child, not having accepted her responsibility yet, so she is scared and wonders why all these people are fighting over her and why some want to kill her. She wants to be a normal girl and depends on Cable for a lot since he’s the closest thing she has to a father. We see her be resourceful and grow a bit which will be further expanded in the last part of her story.
The art is pretty good for parts of the book, Ariel Olivetti and Mike Choi both doing good work on their parts of the story, but I just don’t like Clayton Crain’s artwork for some reason, it’s just not for me, so when his art comes up in the story I kind of tune out some, but not enough to stop reading.
The story, while not as good as Messiah Complex, is a pretty good middle for Hope’s story, and creates a nice rising anticipation for the final part of her tale. Good characters, good to ok artwork, and pretty solid pacing throughout it. Pick it up.