Yes, yes, I have been lagging behind on these reviews.

"My eye is on fire!"

So there was this event called Age of Apocalypse. All of the existing X-books took on new names for little 4-issue stories while this disruption in reality played itself out. Well the Cable series turned into a series called X-Man. And when AoA came to an end, Cable kept on going, but they went ahead and continued the X-Man line as well. It could definitely be argued that X-Man was an unnecessary addition to the X-titles. At the time it was the 9th monthly ongoing title and wasn't a particularly unique voice. But they made sure to keep him very separate from the X-Men themselves and thus keeping the series from being overly mandatory.

So Nate Grey is the Age of Apocalypse's answer to Cable. The difference being that this Nate Grey doesn't have to fight a techno-organic virus every waking moment and thus can fully tap into his powers. Though Sinister built into Nate a failsafe, in that his powers will eventually burn him out and kill him. They throw out the age of 21 as being the likely age of his demise. When Nate gets brought into the regular Marvel Universe he is your typical boy out of time, with a heavy dose of psionic power thrown in. Basically he is the most powerful telepath/telekinetic but with no training. And again slowly killing himself. So the series starts out with him trying to find his place in a world he doesn't know and with powers he doesn't know how to use but are indescribably powerful.

2 points if you can name this artist (hint: the lip gives it away)

He also develops a creepy relationship with a mysteriously, possibly resurrected Madelyne Prior. Who she is, exactly, depends on where you are in the series. A small character, Threnody, who got introduced a little while before this but had hardly been used, also gets thrown into the mix. And unfortunately her story gets left on a bit cliffhanger, never to get picked up again to this day. An early friend he makes is actually Spider-Man who kinda puts him on his path to finally being a hero. And the series definitely tries to take a Spidey vibe but doesn't successfully create a worthwhile background cast of mundanes.

Overall the series is enjoyable if unspectacular. But as with everything in 2000, it was struggling, so they tried to revamp it. As with X-Force, Warren Ellis got brought in to create a new direction. Of the three series Ellis "revolutionized" this book got the best treatment. The only drawback is that it completely leaves storylines hanging (see Threnody) and stomps all over the Madelyne Prior origin. The new origin isn't bad, it is more of a problem of it fitting with earlier events and actions. Just a little more explanation could have easily smoothed some of the details. But anyways the revamp has Nate Grey accepting his power and responsibility and he calls himself the shaman of the mutant race. He also does a lot of dimensional hopping. Basically Ellis got to play with some of his crazier ideas. Also the script writer was a better match for Ellis' crazy ideas than the writers of X-Force or Generation X.

Can't say I cared for Nate's final look though...

But none of this saved the title, so Nate got killed and the series got cancelled. And both the character and the series are mostly forgotten now.


avallak said...

I like the ending. "So basically he dies and no one cares."

Stuart said...

Sad times.