Much of the time in comic books, heroes find out about the villain’s plot, stop it from happening, and waltz on their merry way. Occasionally the event will come up again as a reason that said villains, or someone close to them, will want vengeance on the heroes, or another hero might bring it up in passing. But mostly, past plotlines usually remain in the past. So, it’s a refreshing change to see heroes dealing with the consequences of their actions.
A little while back, the X-Men stopped aliens from Breakworld from using a bullet the size of the moon to destroy Earth. At the same time, they demolished the Breakworlders’ intensely warlike and uncaring society. In most comics, that would be the end of the matter. However Uncanny X-Men: Breaking Point brings the issue back. To the great shock of no one who spent any amount of time thinking about it, a society that literally doesn’t have hospitals or medics (if you’re dying, you’re too weak to live, and it would be shameful to help the weak) is not going to adapt well to being a peaceful culture. So, when the Breakworlder warship Resplendent Celestial Slaughter appears near Earth, the X-men are understandably worried. However, it turns out that the ship is unarmed and filled with refugees seeking asylum. The X-Men, being heroes, give it to them. However, while many Breakworlders are trying to adapt, some would be all too happy to see the X-Men dead. At the top of their hit list is Colossus, who is technically the Breakworlders’ current leader (having dethroned and humiliated the previous one) and the one forcing their society to change. With him out of the way, Breakworld could go back to its warlike ways.
The art in this book is good. And it has to be, because Kitty Pryde, one of the central characters of the story-arc, currently cannot talk. This means that any time she wants to communicate she can only do so via expressions and body language. This puts a lot of pressure on the art, which delivers. At no time was I left wondering what this character is trying to convey, which is stunningly impressive. Also, there’s a great page of the X-Men getting ready for what they assume will be a giant battle. Normally lock-and-load montages only work in mediums where people actually move, i.e., TV and movies. This page completely changed my mind about that.
The book is somewhat violent and a bit bloody, but not really explicitly gory or graphic. There are, however, some references to genocide and large-scale civil war, so keep this 13 and up to be safe.
As I said, this is a story about heroes facing the consequences of their actions. They changed the society of an entire planet and they need to take responsibility for that. It’s rare that this happens, but to their credit, the X-Men step up admirably and do their part to help the refugees. It’s admirable to see heroes acting like heroes in situations that don’t call for beating people up (although plenty of that happens in the story as well).
Uncanny X-Men: Breaking Point
by Kieron Gillen
Art by Terry Dodson, Carlos Pacheco
Marvel Comics, 2011
Publisher Age Rating: T/Teen