X-Men: Deadly Genesis #6 Review
Sometimes you get the bull.
Sometimes the bull gets you.
In this mini-series, the bull got Ed Brubaker.
The bull, in this instance, is the task of writing an "important" mini-series that "achieves" things. These types of stories are where character work and storytelling go to die, and Deadly Genesis is no exception. In fact, I give a lot of credit to Brubaker for making this series as good as it has been, as this story had trainwreck written all over it, leaving only the skills of Brubaker as a writer to save it from the trash heap. It is quite hard to do. Howard Mackie was not able to save his similar project, Astonishing X-Men, an X-Men mini-series set up to "achieve" things, and was therefore devoid of characterization and storytelling.
It's almost like an initiation ritual - "Here, Ed, would you like to write a major series based on this plot? You have to make sure you hit points A, B and C, and if you don't want to write it, we'll just have someone else do it."
You have to take the assignment, but at the same time, it's tough.
Generally speaking, the only times these things turn out well is when the writer pitched the idea to editorial, like DC One Million, Final Night and Invasion!
Ed Brubaker clearly devoted a lot of effort to making the copious retcons in this series make sense, and he did a decent job, as he was given a VERY difficult hand to play here, but as a result, what we have here, in the final issue, is pages and pages and pages (and pages) of exposition. Detailed exposition. Exposition trying to pound the square peg of this story into the round hole of past X-Men stories.
While I admire Brubaker's dedication, really, I don't think "paying attention the old stories" really is worth the effort in the end. The people who hate any tampering with old stories are going to hate it ANYways, and the people who just want a good story are going to be treated to pages and pages and pages (and pages) of exposition for the sake of showing the diehard fans that yes, the writer IS paying attention!!
In the end, essentially, what we got was a better illustrated and better written Green Lantern: Rebirth (the art is almost more inker Scott Hanna than penciller Trevor Hairsine, but it works for the story, which isn't all that action-packed. Great colors by Val Staples, by the by).
Like Rebirth, this is basically setup for future X-Men stories.
Like Rebirth, whatever quality the mini-series was, it is really the follow-up ongoing stories that will be the real test of how good Ed Brubaker is on the X-Men.
Unlike Rebirth, Brubaker introduced new story plots (and Darwin the Evolving Man!) that are interesting enough so as to make his upcoming run on Uncanny sound really interesting.
But, while it is certainly better than Rebirth, like Rebirth, I would not recommend Deadly Genesis (#6, or as a whole).
I would still implore folks to pick up Brubaker's Uncanny X-Men run, starting in July. Outside of the forced plot and "goal points," I think Brubaker will excell on Uncanny X-Men. Even though Billy Tan is not nearly as good as Trevor Hairsine.