The Adventures Of The X-Men #12
Marvel (March, 1997)
“Better To Light A Small Candle…”
WRITER: Ralph Macchio
PENCILER: Yancey Labat
INKER: Ralph Cabrera
COLORIST: Paul Becton
LETTERER: Ul Higgins
EDITOR: Mark Bernardo
The X-Men journey to the planet that holds the M’Kraan crystal, with Jean Grey forced to remerge with the Phoenix Force in order to heal the crystal. As our heroes journey inside, they find a reanimated D’Ken and the N’garai, all placed in the crystal by the Dweller-In-Darkness, who hopes to feed on the anguish of the living beings as their universe dies. However, while Gladiator and the X-Men defeat the monsters, the Phoenix can’t repair the crystal. Their only chance is the message Man-Thing left in Jean Grey’s mind, to keep the universe calm. As it dies the Dweller has no fear to feed upon, but falling into despair means D’Spayre, the Dweller’s servant, can now feed on him. the last survivor from Taa, Galen, becomes Galactus in a new world, where Professor Xavier calls the X-Men–Cyclops, Iceman, Beast, and Angel, to welcome their new fellow student, Jean Grey.
What they got right: Okay, I like the nod to the DC Versus Marvel with the Living Tribunal holding the two brothers and wanting to discuss with the Spectre what to do next. The art’s pretty good. That’s about it.
What they got wrong: It’s the ending that’s ticking me off! First of all, the heroes just lost! The universe was destroyed, and no, denying the Dweller his meal and making him D’Spayre’s victim isn’t enough! The universe still dies. The heroes still lose. And what’s created in its wake is the regular 616 Marvel universe. that mean the cartoon continuity is destroyed, or at least the parts that still mattered when adapted as X-Men Adventures. This also means that The Adventures Of Spider-Man, which crossed over with this title back in the early issues, is dead as well. I mean, I get that it’s a cute nod that this is the former universe Galactus came from, which makes no sense either…why is the spirit of the Universe creating someone whose only reason for existence is eating planets? And no, waving off the Living Tribunal’s non-involvement as “he is the only one smart enough to understand why” doesn’t work for me. I’m a Christian and even God would find no reason to kill this universe to create another one. I want to applaud Macchio for trying to connect this to the regular continuity but it means the heroes lose and their tales don’t go on forever without the fans getting them. Life ends, and the heroes fail no matter how you try to spin it to me.
Recommendation: I hold on to this because I think it’s now canon that this universe was the precursor to 616 and thus important to the Marvel universe, but I hate this ending and would recommend just passing it by, and not because I’m no X-Fan. It ruins another series and makes the heroes fail to save the universe, which is the opposite of how I want a superhero story to end.