X-Men Blue marches steadily on and the plot thickens with every twist and turn! X-Blue (my snazzy new name for it) #4 left us on tenterhooks by introducing the New Marauders. You can catch up here if you missed it.

The New Marauders were hunting down the errant Wolverine-like mutant, Jimmy, who had found his way into the X-Men’s reality. And this is exactly where our story picks up.

Jimmy is definitely his father’s son and reacts violently to the New Marauders arriving, swearing they won’t take him back to wherever they came from. The resulting battle demonstrates some fantastic scene composition and shows each of the heroes strutting their respective stuff. Iceman going toe to toe with Quicksilver leads to some of the more fun and interestingly drawn panels. Watching 5 snowmen beating Quicksilver down is pretty funny.

One thing that makes no sense to me however is Mach-2. She’s a mutant with Magneto-like abilities and therefore able to control metal. What I don’t understand is her name. I’m sure there’s an explanation, I just thought it weird.

The battle rages around the diner pretty hard and Jean plays defence for the locals, helping the detective (who’s name I forgot, if we were even told) usher them to safety. Once they’re free she’s encouraged by Beast to try and get in their minds and shut them down. Whether or not this is a subtle hat tip to the “Dark Beast” sub-plot with him being the devil on her shoulder remains to be seen. It could have simply been a tactical decision made on the fly.

Jean attempts to break into their heads and we’re introduced to the seductive Miss Sinister. A presumably powerful telepath who is in league with the New Marauders. Jean begins trying to get answers about what Miss Sinister wants with Jimmy, but the evasive and mysterious telepath dodges the questions and talks bout claiming Jean herself. Sinister eventually divulges her purpose and man is it a doozy. She’s been collecting wayward mutants from other worlds, experimenting on them to discover why they’re so different from the mutants of her own reality. Showing scenes from multiple different universes (including a shot of Miles Morales – possible tie in to Spider-Men II coming next month?) she explains how not all of those she met adapted to her “ministrations”.

During this exchange we see Jimmy facing off against Mach-2 and revealing a neat little trick to his claws. Unlike his dear old dad, Jimmy can control the composition of his claws, shifting them from metal to bone at his discretion. Before delivering a killing blow to the incapacitated girl he bolts out of the door as if he’s just woken up and realised what he’s doing. Persued by the Marauders, the X-Men follow them out into the snow in order to protect Jimmy and we’re back to the mental sparring match between Jean and Miss Sinister.

Sinister claims that the brainwashed mutants had their minds erased as a by product of the transition into her world but if that’s the case then how come Jimmy is fine after crossing from his world to her’s and then into the X-Men’s? Bragging about turning them into her own personal weapons she takes her leave, claiming to return to show just what they’re capable of, leaving Jean defiant and promising to stop her.

With Sinister’s exit the Marauders also disappear, leaving our X-Men and Jimmy alone in the snow. Offering to help Jimmy the team depart to Mandripoor, promising that their benefactor (Magneto) will do right by the townsfolk and diner owner who’s establishment they wrecked. Magneto gets his creepy-old-man vibe on again and stares a little too hard at Jimmy while Jean explains how he’s different and even Cerebro noticed something.

The interesting part of this engagement is that Magneto asks why they didn’t take Jimmy to the school. Jean explains that they would run the risk of Kitty asking questions and wouldn’t approve of them working with Magneto. It begs the question as to what is their relationship with Kitty and why are they working with Magneto rather than her? I’m sure X-Men Gold will probably shed more light on this but we’re reading Blue here and so I couldn’t tell ya.

Jean discovers a leaving gift from Sinister in her pocket and begins questioning her motives to close out the issue. Issue #5 does a great job of adding depth to the ever expanding world and plot. Just who is Miss Sinister and what is she doing gathering up the anomalous mutants? Why does she want to manipulate Jean onto her team?

We’re seeing the X-Men come up against a lot of enemies but not making many new friends. Magneto’s creepy overtones and general disposition make it ever a question as to why he’s working with the good guys rather than focusing on annihilating them as usual. Most interesting is the reference to Kitty and her school. I’m sure we’ll be finding out more in the coming issues but for now we can only speculate and wonder.

Could Beast’s other-worldly arcane tutor be related to Miss Sinister somehow? She’s already brainwashed the New Marauders into working for her and a lot of her scenes focused on pink/purple colour palettes, the same colour that Beast’s eyes glowed. It’s a thin link but it’s possible she’s manipulating him from her other reality in order to turn him against the X-Men or possibly use him to capture Jean.

All we can do is be patient. We’re still only 5 issues into the new series and we’ve got a long way to go just yet!

Seeya in two weeks, True Believers!

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