X-Men #20 Cover Regensis Storm War MachineNot missing a beat, this issue has little to do with the ‘Regenesis’ relaunch.  Psylocke’s team continues to serve as the Black-Ops branch of the X-Men.  In this issue, three Sentinels, the giant mutant hunting robots, are shanghaied in Eastern Europe.  Espionage ace, Domino is on the scene, but may not make it out of this one!  Cyclops sends this team of X-Men, Psylocke, Jubilee and Warpath, joined by Colossus and Storm to recover her and to investigate the Sentinels.  Unfortunately, the situation in Eastern Europe is tense and War Machine orders the X-Men to turn around and go home.  Storm acquiesces but secretly, they turn on their radar jammers and proceed with their mission.  War Machine finds them again, this time behind enemy lines and they engage in the requisite hero-versus-hero slug fest, which delays the X-Men to the point where it may be too late for Domino.

Though Psylocke is supposed to be this team’s leader, Storm calls all of the shots on this mission, which I found just a little odd.  But I guess Storm has so much experience, it makes sense.  Unfortunately, that results in Psylocke not having a lot to do this issue.  Colossus continues struggling to control the dark Juggernaut powers now possessing him.  Jubilee continues to evolve, having recently been turned into a vampire!  War Machine works as a great guest-star, truly sorry that he has to fight his fellow heroes, but feeling that he must do his duty.

X-Men #20 Alternate Cover Regenesis Psylocke Domino Jubilee Warpath StormI’m tired of Eastern European arms dealers, so that aspect of the plot bored me.  And The Sentinels are yet another case of going back to the well of old X-Men enemies, without seemingly going to the bother of adding anything new to them.  But I liked the X-Men versus War Machine part.  Overall, pretty simple plot that doesn’t feature any real innovation.  It’s entertaining enough, and if you’re really into the whole espionage thing, it might appeal to you more than it did me.

The characterizations are likewise okay, but surprisingly the bulk of development goes to Colossus and Storm, who are technically guest-stars.  Most of the major cast only get a few lines of dialogue that do little to develop them or appeal to anyone reading this book for the first time.  While overall, Storm is handled well, she made reference to the fact that she was a Queen at least three times and War Machine said it at least once.  We get it!

X-Men #20 Interior War MachineWill Conrad’s art is very smooth, attractive and dramatic with excellent story telling, so there’s nothing to fault there.  The opening shoot-’em-up flows like a scene from one of the ‘Jason Bourne’ movies.  His faces are stunning!  Rarely has Storm looked better and that’s saying a mouthful!  And overall, his work is very realistic, with natural body postures and stances.  The character’s clothing flows and drapes realistically.  The one nitpick I have is he draws Psylocke and Storm’s costumes as thongs.  With Psylocke, that’s nothing new, as Jim Lee typically rendered it that way when he first designed her costume.  But it’s not a look befitting a Queen!  Maybe that’s why she had to keep reminding everyone she was one, like “Ignore my butt cheeks hanging out!  I’m still a Queen!”

This is a good book, not a great one.  I like a lot of the characters, which is the only thing that would draw me back.  Otherwise, the storyline is too pedestrian.  Nice artwork, though.  It’s the least engaging of the ‘Regenesis’ titles I’ve read thus far.  I’ll probably give it another issue.  Things could still turn around.

Verdict: Borrow

X-MEN #20
Written by Victor Gischler
Art by Will Conrad
Cover by Adi Granov