Imagine a beautifully drawn scene of kids in a toy store being told they can have whatever they want, and that sums up the chaos here. The Black Vortex is a magic mirror-like object that, like Snow White’s evil queen believed, promises power and transformation into one’s superior self. Sam Humphries picks up this third chapter of the crossover event with Warren, one of the time-displaced original X-Men, submitting to the Black Vortex as Beast and Gamora already have.
Readers unfamiliar with Brian Michael Bendis’ All-New X-Men might not know that Warren was the most unhappy of the original X-Men to be stuck in the present. It makes sense that Humphries chooses him to be the one character who jumps at the chance to seize power.
Humphries spins a significant surprise: Storm — who has been very busy in adjectiveless X-Men but has done very little in All-New and Uncanny X-Men — takes a central role in trying to save the galaxy from Beast and Gamora’s madness. Paco Medina, Juan Vlasco, and David Curiel illustrate exciting, but much too brief, conflict between Gamora and Storm. Curiel in particular deserves credit for making this issue an attractive read: subtleties of Iceman’s shading and crackles of lightning from Storm look fantastic.
If you want to immerse yourself in a hypothetical story of good X-Men and Guardians gone bad, this is a fun issue. However, thus far, the Black Vortex event doesn’t feel like it weighs consequentially on the X-Men or Guardians of the Galaxy. The battles between the heroes and the inverted feel more like the sparring of the Avengers vs. X-Men: Vs. miniseries.
The Verdict: 7.0/10