To return to their own world, the X-Men will have to destroy another in "Age of X-Man: Omega #1"

Writers: Zac Thompson & Lonnie Nadler, Art: Simone Buonfantino, Colours: Triona Farrell, Letters: Clayton Cowles.

X-Man has become the architect of the perfect world. A world where everyone is a mutant. A world where there is no more strife, oppression, or conflict. A dream world made real.

It will always be the nature of some to rebel however, and the strain of trying to hold his fragile illusion together as more and more mutants begin to remember the lives they had before is taking an immense toll on X-Man, and causing tears to appear in the very fabric of the reality he has created. As the reality around them begins to crumble, the X-Men are forced to confront the fact that whilst this may not be their world, the rest of the billions of inhabitants of Nate Grey's creation — as well as their thoughts, feelings, and aspirations — are real, and that in order to return to their own plain of existence they will have to destroy this one and all of those who reside within it...

It's time for the X-Men to decide what they stand for in "Age of X-Man: Omega #1"

Tying up the various mini-series that have comprised Age of X-Man over the last few months, this issue brings most of the protagonists of those series together as they confront Nate Grey over his manipulations. However, regardless of the fact that they have all been equally deceived, the X-Men are far from unified in how they feel about it.

Many are understandably angry and bitter having been imprisoned, beaten, and even tortured in some cases just so Nate could maintain his illusion of utopia, for the simply crime of having realised the truth of the world around them.

Others are filled with sadness as they come to realise that many of those they had been lead to believe made the ultimate sacrifice in order to build the supposed mutant paradise they now live in, still in fact survive — their very real lives at stake as they battle against impossible odds back on the world where they were left behind.

Equally however, some have found their only true taste of happiness and contentment here, and are tired of fighting for acceptance and even their very lives on a miserable world that hates them merely because of the accident of their birth.

Ultimately though, Nate's reality is an all-or-nothing deal — everyone needs to go, or everyone needs to stay. So it falls to Jean Grey to act as the voice of reason, her hypothesis being that if residing in the Garden of Eden forces them to live a life in isolation without love or familiarity, then what they lose far outweighs anything they might gain, and that if they have the freedom to make their own mistakes then at least they can make those mistakes together.

Whilst Age of X-Man: Omega does at least bring the event to a tidy conclusion, I am far from convinced that it has been worth the considerable investment that was required to buy into it.

Unlike most Marvel big events with which you can elect to simply pick up the main title if you wish, and where additional tie-in series are considered optional rather than essential, Age of X-Man has no such "core" title, the various series that comprise it if read on their own make little sense without the context provided by reading all the others, and doing that is going to cost you a whopping $150.

Money isn't the real issue here however. Comic fans are generally happy to empty their pockets for you if they feel they are getting sufficient bang for their buck (certainly this comic fan is), as another recent event — "War of Realms" — has exhibited.

No, the problem is that Age of X-Man — far from capitalizing on the early reaction that had many fans speculating that this could be an era-defining story in the mold of "Age of Apocalypse" represents the conclusion of an event that instead commits the most cardinal sin of the creative medium in that it doesn't evoke any strong emotional reaction at all.

Additionally, the story has all the potential signs of one of the most frustrating tropes of the modern comic book industry — the "Earth shattering event that will change EVERYTHING", that ultimately changes very little.

Whilst the final page of this issue cryptically suggests that decisions made by one character may possibly influence what comes next, with a well publicised, once-in-a-decade, tectonic shift coming to the X-Men franchise as of next week when Jonathan Hickman takes the reins, I'm not convinced that we'll see a pay-off from anything that's happened in this event — such as how those characters who didn't want to leave Nate Grey's reality react to being back in the real world.

It's not that Age of X-Man has been bad, it's just been utterly mundane, and this issue is entirely indicative of that. It's a middle grade event that leaves me feeling thoroughly indifferent, and there's a part of me that honestly thinks things would have been better if it was awful, because at least then I would have felt something.

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