Monday, January 25, 2010

Second Coming: One Will Lead & One Will Die Teaser

Marvel is certainly stepping up the hype for Second Coming. This past week they released two ominous teaser. One is an image that says "One Will Lead" with Cyclops, Emma Frost, and Magneto standing together. The other says "One Will Die" with Cyclops standing over a freshly dug grave. It has already been hinted at in interviews and the solicitations for April so this really didn't come as too much a surprise. It appears the writers want us to believe that a major leadership schism will emerge during Second Coming and there will be casualties. But given how Uncanny and the recent comics have unfolded, there seems to be little room for surprises.

First off, the image about someone leading has already been built upon in Uncanny 520. In this issue a growing rift between Cyclops and Magneto is festering. Magneto has his own way of doing things and Cyclops doesn't very much like Magneto operating behind his back. There remain plenty of reasons to be suspicious. Magneto has a long history of backstabbing and betrayal. It's pretty clear where this is going. Magneto, even though he praised Cyclops for bringing mutants together, still has his own agenda. As soon as Hope comes back into the picture, it's doubtful he'll just yield to Cyclops's authority on every matter. At his heart, Magneto still wants mutants to reign supreme and if he feel he can do that with Hope he will take his chances.

That leaves Emma Frost the odd character out in the image. What is she doing there? Why is she listed? She's certainly not one who has taken up leadership roles. Since Fraction took over she's basically become Cyclops's arm candy, standing in the wings and wearing her skimpy outfit while standing by Cyclops and just letting him do his job without any real complaints. Is this the same snarky Emma Frost from Astonishing and New X-men? Since when did she just become another Yes Man for Cyclops? That's not Emma Frost. Even Jean Grey questioned Cyclops. She also took a more active role. This just feels like a watered down Emma that writers like Fraction are intent to make Cyclops's ultimate lover, which of course is redundant and damaging to the character. Emma can be a good lover for Cyclops, but this just isn't her. She's better than this.

That being said, I find it doubtful that she'll take on any leadership roles that aren't designated to her by Cyclops. She's not going to betray Cyclops. Utopia already showed she's incapable of doing so. Fraction has so limited her that she might as well be Cyclops's puppet and it would be shocking that someone who goes out of his way to make the Scott/Emma relationship more than it is to put Emma into a position where she could actually stand on her own and push away from Cyclops. There is no way Emma won't come out shining in this way and I'll be very surprised if Fraction or the other writers do it any other way.

Now as for the image about someone dying, it's not really saying much considering how common death and resurrection are in the Marvel universe. That whole "Dead means Dead" notion that Quesada once asserted has become a joke. They've brought back Psylocke, Stryfe, Bucky Barns, and Steve Rogers. Anybody who dies in Second Coming probably won't stay dead. As for who it could be it's doubtful that it would be Scott, Emma, or Magneto. Some speculate it will be Emma who dies because the Phoenix appears to be rearing it's head again and Emma has gone up against it before. It would be somewhat fitting if she did so again and was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice just as Jean once did, leaving Scott at an even greater loss. But that's not going to happen. Fraction and Quesada love Emma way too much and they'll kill Wolverine before they'll kill Emma. Could it be Magneto? Honestly, how many times has that guy died? That would be way too predictable. It appears Cable might be the most likely candidate. He's a death that could actually stick and with the return of Nate Grey in Dark X-men, that cold open the door to a new Cable. But again, that may make too much sense.

It's hard to make predictions with Marvel, but given the writing style of people like Matt Fraction and Joe Quesada it's doubtful they'll do anything too surprising. Some characters may die while others may be thrust into new roles, but it depends on whether or not they'll be willing to take the characters stay true to their core rather than watering them down for personal reasons. To their credit that's not easy to do, but for an event as big as Second Coming someone is going to have to show some humility of this story is to live up to the trilogy that it spawned. Only time will tell.

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