Neil Kleid’s The Phoenix Chase is the newest addition to Aconyte book’s Marvel School of X line of novels. This time Kid Omega’s friends get captured and the only way to save them is by turning to those with more experience than him. Working on a team isn’t Kid Omega’s style, but if he’s going to track down the deadly Phoenix Force and save his friends, he’s going to have to learn, fast.
[Note: While I am reviewing this novel independently and honestly, it should be noted that it has been provided to me by Aconyte for the purpose of this review. Warning: My review of The Phoenix Chase contains some spoilers!]
A bid for freedom goes horribly wrong for Kid Omega
Kid Omega thinks he doesn’t need anyone. He is an omega-level mutant who specializes in telepathy but has expanded his talents to include a whole array of mental powers. But Quintavius Quirinius “Quentin” Quire, better known as Kid Omega, hasn’t managed to make people skills part of his toolbox. He has trouble making friends, is very arrogant, and has a huge problem with authority.
The Kid is so sure he knows better than the X-Men that he decides to start his own school, in his head, somehow hosting other people in a space he’s made in his mind. But the opening day doesn’t go how he plans. The party is crashed by a mysterious group calling themselves “The Remaining”.
The Remaining kidnap Kid Omega’s closest friends and demand that he delivers them a Phoenix Egg and a Summers man. This means that Quentin has no choice, there’s no way he can do this on his own, he has to ask the X-Men for help.
Tracking the Phoenix Force
Kid Omega turns to Scott Summers, Cyclops, for help. But Cyclops and the other mutants are worried about Scott coming anywhere near the Phoenix Egg. After all, it holds the Phoenix Force and Cyclops has already succumbed to that particular siren call.
Eventually, a solution is found. The message just says that a Summers man must deliver the Phoenix Egg, so they swap one brother for another and Alex Summers, a.k.a. Havok, gets roped into the mission. Just to double the fun, their father, the previously thought dead pirate captain Corsair, will be their transport through space. Alex is none too happy about this pairing but he’s not given a choice.
Kid Omega is furious that he’s being forced to work as a team. He’s sure he could do it all himself if they would just let him. Alex is less than pleased with having to work with Quentin or his father. Corsair is happy to be there but there’s tension between him and Alex. Overall, not the best way to start a mission. Especially one looking for a very dangerous force with no clues on where to go or even how to make the trade once they do find it.
But while he doesn’t know anything about the Phoenix Egg, it turns out that Corsair might know someone who can point them in the right direction, maybe. And so the cross-galaxy treasure hunt begins in earnest.
But will Kid Omega be an asset or a hindrance? Can Alex get through to him and teach him what a team is before Kid Omega’s arrogance gets them all killed?
The most obnoxious mutant ever (yes including Deadpool)
Kid Omega is hands down the most obnoxious mutant ever. He is so arrogant and rude that I really had a hard time reading The Phoenix Chase. Sometimes an overly arrogant or annoying character will have a sense of humor that, while not making them likable, at least makes them palatable. But Kid Omega is lacking that sense of humor. He wasn’t funny he was just rude to everyone.
At one point the characters tried to justify his behavior by claiming he was covering his own insecurities, but he didn’t come off that way. He truly seemed to think that he was better than every other being in existence and that the rest of the universe was beneath him. It really bothered me.
At first, I hoped that Alex Summers was going to be a bright spot that would help me see past Kid Omega. But he wasn’t. He was in a constant depressive hole. He was so full of guilt, regret, and angst that he was just as difficult to read through. The PTSD from his childhood and constant flashbacks were overdone. They randomly intruded into scenes constantly, ruining the whole flow of the story.
The Phoenix Chase characters kill the enjoyment
With both main characters being so hard to read it made The Phoenix Chase a little bit of a drag. The basic story wasn’t bad. It was even exciting. But the characters are the lens through which we see the story, and these lenses darkened the story. If Kid Omega has either been a little less annoying or had some humor to him, or if Alex hadn’t been in such need of antidepressants, the story would have been way more enjoyable.
I mean a treasure hunt across the universe for an incredibly destructive force to save some kidnapped teens sounds like such a great time! And the way that Kid Omega manages to save the day at the end was inspiring. But he doesn’t learn his lesson and he still thinks he’s better than everyone else, so I almost have a hard time being happy for him.
Reader beware of The Phoenix Chase
I don’t often say this about the Aconyte Marvel books, but not everyone is going to enjoy this one. There is a solid story but the characters actually detract from the story.
Fans of X-Men and the School of X Marvel line will probably still enjoy The Phoenix Chase. Especially if they have a space fetish mixed into their mutant love. But if that’s not your jam then you’ll probably want to skip this one. Either way, be ready to be annoyed with Kid Omega, even after he saves the day.
My Rating: 6/10
The Phoenix Chase: A Marvel School of X Novel by Neil Kleid is available now! Will you be reading this one? Let us know on Twitter or in The Cosmic Circus discord. And if you haven’t already, check out Black Cat: Discord!