Saturday, February 27, 2010
X-men Second Coming: Prepare
The countdown has begun and Second Coming is merely a month away! To bill the event as the can't-miss X-men tale of the decade Marvel released a short teaser comic called Prepare this past Wednesday. It starts off by showing the teasers that have been released over the past few weeks that include
One will rise
One will fall
One will lead
One will sacrifice
All will unite
Then it breaks right into the event, showing a scene that occurs two days after Hope and Cable return to Utopia. Someone has died and various reactions are shown from the likes of Bobby, Cannonball, Cyclops, Magneto, Cable, and Wolverine. At one point the body is shown, albeit covered by a white sheet. It's impossible to see who it is, but it seems to be a major character. It has been listed in the solicits that someone will perish and Matt Fraction said himself in a recent interview it's someone he cherishes. So who could it be?
I'm tempted to be reasonable in determining who this may be, but as history has shown being reasonable doesn't always pan when you're trying to decide what Marvel is going to do. The prevailing sentiment is that Nightcrawler will die. He's not someone Fraction has written about that much so it may be a bit of a long shot. However, Wolverine did state that the victim was his "Friend" and he and Nightcrawler have always been good friends. I'm not sure about this. I give it about a 30 percent chance of happening.
Some go so far as to say that Emma will be the one that dies. This is just plain stupid. Marvel and Matt Fraction LOVE Emma Frost. Fraction would have quit months ago if he learned they were going to kill off his favorite X-woman and the other half of his favorite X-men couple with Scott and Emma. Plus, Quesada has said before he loves Scott and Emma as a couple too much. There's no way in hell he'll do anything to break them up. There were some hints. The outline of the body did show some female characteristics and Cannonball did say at one point he worried about how this was hurting Scott, but it's still doubtful. This is Emma Frost and Marvel seems determined to make her and Scott the new Jean and Scott, turning Emma into what is essentially a Jean Grey replacement. I've never liked this and always thought Joss Whedon did a better job of showing Emma as she should be shown. But the Marvel writers seem determined to undo history and turn Emma Frost into the golden girl Jean Grey once was. It's sad and maybe killing her would help put a stop to that, but for that very reason I give this a ZERO percent chance of happening.
I'm led to conclude that the one who dies will be Pixie. Here is a character that Fraction clearly loves and who has become more prominent as of late. Her dying would cause quite an impact and it wouldn't destroy too much of the core team. It would show just enough impact to really bring about the necessary shock value, but so much that it takes away from the story (unlike bullshit shock comics like Ultimatum). Of all the possible deaths, Pixie is the one that seems most likely and for that I give her a solid 50-50 shot.
Now aside from the death, there was also a part at the end that went over the history of the Phoenix Force. It asked What is the Phoenix Force? as if many X-fans don't already know. It gave a brief history of the Phoenix and spent time highlighting recent events where traces of the Phoenix force left both Rachel Grey and the Stepford Cuckoos. Then the focus turned to Hope Summers, offering yet another clue that she's going to be a new bearer of the Phoenix. They left it vague, stating only the Phoenix knows. But it also offers yet more proof that Marvel is trying to separate the Phoenix from Jean Grey. This is something that cannot and will not end well.
As I blogged earlier, Marvel has been trying since Phoenix Warsong to take Jean Grey out of the equation so they can have the star power of the Phoenix without bringing her back. Because bringing her back may mean that they can't have this bulldog version of Cyclops and cannot continue the Scott/Emma relationship, it's just unthinkable that they would use her again. Yet because she has so many passionate fans they can't just ignore her. So just using the Phoenix gives them a way to have their cake and eat it too. Even after they overtly said in Phoenix Endsong (which by the way sold WAY more than the Jean-less Warsong) that Jean is always Phoenix, they're treating the Phoenix like a separate entity. With no explanation, that's just poor storytelling. Jean and Phoenix are forever linked and to use one without the other is to completely disrespect the characters.
Now this could all be made right if Hope turns out to be Jean in human form, but again that would make too much sense. Marvel seems intent on keeping Jean out of the picture so they can keep Scott and Emma. This is something that only hurts stories, having to force something so that a bias version of a character must remain. This is what led to One More Day and the Clone Saga. It seems it can only be remedied if someone other than Matt Fraction or Joe Quesada aren't present anymore. Since that doesn't appear to be happening, the chances of a clean resolution are slim at best.
As always, however, I hold out because I have been wrong before. Marvel has surprised me with uncanny awesomeness like Messiah Complex, Messiah War, X-Force, and Nation X. So I go into second coming with an equal amount of excitement and trepidation. I'm not expecting everything to be cleanly handled. I'm expecting awesomeness that will blow my face clean off my skull. This is the third and final chapter to the Messiah Trilogy. The first two set the stage in a big way and I'm just aching to see how it all comes together. Despite my cynicism for how Marvel handles characters like Scott, Emma, and Jean Grey there is far more awesome than non-awesome. March cannot come quickly enough and my appetite for Second Coming has officially been stoked!