Collects X-Men Blue issues 7-12.

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Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artists: Cory Smith, Joey Vazquez, Thony Silas, Giovanni Valetta, Douglas Franchin

This collection is divided to two stories. The first three issues are a Secret Empire crossover which left me quite puzzled because I haven’t read it. Apparently Cap is now Nazi (just no, Marvel) and he helped Hydra get control of US (again, just no) and California is controlled by a cabal of evil mutants: Emma Frost (I’m so pleased to see Emma where she belongs, as a hardcore villain), Sebastian Shaw, the Beast (??), and… Xorn?? I thought Xorn was Magneto or his clone or something?? Anyway, these morons have created a paradise on Earth for mutants… except that they have concentration camps for any dissenters. And the original, teenaged X-Men are the only ones fighting this??? Really, after Genosha??

While the actual setting is pretty interesting as an alternate history or timetravel plot or something, I can’t accept that many of our heroes are just going along with this regime. And Magneto making a deal of no interferance with Nazis who have concentration camps?? Just. No.

Our intrepid heroes are also in a very different place. A new side character has popped up and their HQ is now a bunker in a forest. The X-Men attack one of the concentration camps and break out the prisoners. They return to their bunker but (of course) the villains track them. Emma’s foot soldiers attack. They’re a mix of villans and heroes. I just can’t ever swallow that heroes like Wolfsbane and Firestar are voluntarily working for this regime. Some of them also have some pretty strange ”secondary mutations”.

Jean and Jimmy Hudson are left for dead and the rest of the team are captured. Of course, Jean and Jimmy must rescue the others. We also get to know Blackbird’s secret.

After the Secret Empire is over, everything returns to normal like it never happened. (Maybe it didn’t? Was it an alternate universe? I guess I should read it anyway) Jean and Scott share now a permanent rapport. They’re teenagers and can hear each others’ thoughts. Super awkward. They’re trying to cope with it. Meanwhile, Hank’s dabbling with magic comes with a cost (as it always does). The person who is teaching Hank magic,convinces him to help them with a summoning. Of course, Hank and the person summon X-Men from various other dimensions and they attack our current X-Men.

I rather enjoyed the Hex-Men. We even got to know them a little. Poor Colossus has lost his Illyana. Poor Kurt has been changed to a nightmarish demon. Poor Pixie was turned to a demon in a second Inferno. And Bloodstorm. Ororo Munroe as a vampire, from the Mutant X comic (which I throughly enjoyed so I’m thrilled to see her). The final issue was from Bloodstorm’s point-of-view which I enjoyed a lot.

Overall, this was pretty uneven collection. I enjoyed a few things but not everything. I think you should read the Secret Empire storyline before tackling this one. And the second story really requires the reader to enjoy alternate versions of the X-Men.