What They Say:
Countdown – The X-Men battle hedgehog while chasing Mastermind.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With Mastermind having revealed himself, the series has certainly picked up a bit since he has his couple of associates there to do the more physical work that he tries to avoid, being a master of illusion. Mastermind is definitely a fun villain to work with and he’s made his manipulations from the start here that defined a good chunk of the series with how the team broke up, how Cyclops was manipulated into hating Emma and how he got back at her for wanting out of the Inner Circle. It toes things together in a neat and compact way, maybe a little too much so, but it’s the kind of character he’s long been when it comes to doing things. So combining that with a solid slick and aristocratic look, well, they nailed the character just right for me.
While the action is there at the start, there are also some other revelations as Beast has figured out what it is deep down below that Sasaki has been doing. The accusations being thrown against her are pretty rough, but as we get to see, she’s been doing all of this with the mutants, the experiments and the hiding of the mutant activity. She’s certainly been aware of it all and doesn’t try to hide it, but she’s definitely ashamed of it all to a significant degree. And everything has come down to what’s behind that final door that Mastermind wanted, since it was powerful enough to do everything that has been going on. As we’ve gotten clues before, it’s little surprise when she reveals what the child inside is like and that he was the motivation for her creating the virus. You can understand her reasoning and desire to do so but it is hard for some of the X-Men to understand it considering what their lives are like and the constant and regular prejudices they have to deal with.
The introduction of Sasaki’s son definitely shifts things up a bit as Mastermind makes the revelation that Takeo is actually an omega class mutant, one that hasn’t been introduced since Jean Grey came on the scene which strikes quite a nerve. And with Mastermind in the mix, having Takeo under his control and as a tool of the Inner Circle will make him a key part to his plans to change the world where mutants will be on top instead of persecuted and hunted. It’s a good setup overall and even though it’s a bit much on the whole villain revealing his plan thing, Mastermind does at least seem to hold all the cards at the moment to make it come across as a not altogether stupid idea since he wants to gloat and has the tools to back it up.
X-Men spends a lot of its time dealing with the exposition this time around, clearing up what’s happened over the course of the shows run with the illusions and twists that have been put into place, some known and some unknown. It also finally brings in the big mystery character that has been at the root cause of things, manipulated by Mastermind of course through his twisting of Sasaki’s desire to heal her son and save him from the problems of being a mutant. The team is kind of kept in a standstill position for a lot of it since it is so focused on dialogue, but it does have a bit of action that works well and ramps up the intensity and pressure that they’re going to face, particularly with Beast and Wolverine as they have a pretty difficult opponent to deal with. The show continues to excite and hit all the right notes as it deals with the single ongoing storyline.