Comics : X-Men & Spider-Man #4

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This review was first published on: 2009.

Background...

Spider-Man and the X-Men have teamed up numerous times over the years. One of the unexplored chapters of their lives involve a long-running battle with Mr. Sinister and his cloning experiments.

After their initial meeting, a few costume and/or personnel changes over the years, we now arrive in the present day for the last chapter.

In Detail...

"The Mutant Hunter"
X-Men & Spider-Man #4
Apr 2009 : SM Title
Summary: Spider-Man, X-Men vs Xraven
Writer:  Christos Gage
Artist:  Mario Alberti
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Articles: Xraven

After the events of M-Day, the Morlock population has been greatly reduced. Unfortunately the hatred for them has not. Two Morlocks named "Ed" and "Joe Bugs" are fleeing the sewers with an assassin close behind. Ed was one of the depowered mutants; Joe retained his insect-like appearance and powers. Unable to escape, Joe turns to face his assailant and meets with a gruesome ending. Ed is allowed to live (because according to the assassin he "wasn't worth killing"). He contacts the X-Men (Cyclops, Wolverine, Colossus, Kitty Pryde, and Nightcrawler) and informs them that his friend was killed by Kraven The Hunter.

They are not prepared for this as they know Kraven to be dead. Cyclops convinces Wolverine to contact Spider-Man and after collecting the remains of Joe Bugs, they compare notes. Their research into Kraven's family tree proves to be a dead end. They begin discussing their history fighting Sinister in the hopes that they can discover his plan.

Just as Spider-Man forms a theory, they are attacked by the assassin that killed Joe Bugs. It is a clone of Kraven, created in Sinister's image with the powers of the original X-Men from the stolen DNA samples years ago. It is revealed in a flashback that Sinister designed him to acquire DNA samples from the remaining mutant population. The clone is aware he is not the real Kraven, but adopts the name of "Xraven". Xraven proves to be quite formidable, using each of the mutant powers acquired from the original X-Men to counter any attack.

Unable to physically beat him Spider-Man and Cyclops employ some psychological warfare convincing Xraven that he's nothing to Sinister and that he'll be discarded when his "mission" is complete. Xraven succumbs to their tactics and teleports away.

Xraven returns to Sinister's laboratory where Sinister announces his plans for the samples. He intends to clone the X-Men and replace them one-by-one until he can unite mutantkind for his purposes. Xraven states that he would create slaves and attacks him, destroying the lab in the process.

In General...

Ok, the purpose of Sinister's plans was to create a variation on the Mimic that resembled both himself and Kraven? That makes sense, but it's still a bit disappointing. I had hoped there would be a bigger reveal, but sadly not.

If that isn't disappointing enough, the clone creates a portmanteau of "X-Men" and "Kraven" as his name. I'm not really sure how to pronounce "Xraven". (Zuhr-rave-in?) This aggravates me more because I can't mock him properly. It's like trying to refer to Prince from 1993 - 2000 when he went by that goofy symbol. You can say "The Symbol" or "The Artist Formerly Known As Prince" but it always seemed childish to me. The same principle applies to "Xraven".

Overall Rating...

3 webs. It's a shame - such a great start led to a mediocre finish. The story was enjoyable, but I was expecting something more dramatic for this issue.

Footnote...

The M-Day event is the return from the "House Of M" reality. It reduced the mutant population to a mere fraction of their former numbers. This occurred in House of M #8