Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Second Coming Q&A - Thoughts From The Adherents

Second Coming is in full swing at Marvel. It appears the writers and editors simply cannot contain their excitement as they have been giving out interviews in the way McDonalds gives out heart attacks. On the hype alone it may be just as dangerous for all fanboys with heart conditions, but nobody is complaining yet. So far nothing has been revealed to completely destroy interest in this crossover so Marvel is doing all the right things thus far.

X-men Second Coming: Q&A

On the whole there's nothing too shocking here, just an overall reinforcing of what is already known about this crossover. It's the final chapter to Messiah Complex, it will bring Hope and Cable back into the present, and it will have Bastion as the main enemy. In earlier interviews it was revealed by Matt Fraction that someone big was going to die. There weren't any further hints here, but it appears the sentiment seems to be leaning towards someone like Nightcrawler, Beast, Pixie, or potentially Angel. There were some notable quotes.

Matt Fraction: Yeah. This is the bookend to [Messiah Complex]. But it's the X-Men. Nothing is ever wrapped up in a tidy little package. But you will know who Hope is. You will know what she is capable of. You will have a sense of what she is going to be capable of. This is the end of all the questions that have been asked since [Messiah Complex]. Well...almost. [Laughs] It answers the questions, but asks new ones that propel us into the future.

Chris Yost: Bastion is a very committed villain. He's got a goal and he's never going to stop. He will never stop no matter what. He is the kind of guy who crosses his t's and dots his i's. Anything he does is going to be very extreme and very well thought out and thorough. The X-Men have no idea what's coming for them.

Mike Carey: I would see [Hope] as being ambivalent about a lot of things. She's met a number of the mutants from our time now in the events of Messiah War and she's curious about that. She's curious about the time that she's come from and she knows that it's assumed by everybody around her that she'll go back there. I think she wants to do that, but she's also afraid. The burden she carries is an enormous one and she's a bit uncertain of her ability to carry it. Particularly since there is still this question mark about what she can do.

Zeb Wells: Well, Cyclops honestly believes that Hope is the future of mutantkind, where her living makes the difference between mutantkind surviving and mutantkind dying. So, as soon as Hope shows up, any danger that she finds herself in is going to be met with a huge reaction from Cyclops. Basically, an attack on Hope would be considered an attack on mutantkind. So, he is going to throw everything he possibly can to making sure Hope is safe and that she is in a place where she can be protected.

Nick Lowe: Our big instruction when Axel Alonso came in as our group editor was to simplify the line in a lot of ways and make it that each book has a pretty distinctive identity and each one has a mission statement you can identity. That's still going to be it-maintaining these "simple mission statement books"-but on the other end of it, what we're pushing back is to the core X-Men "hated and feared" and the differences between people and what makes you special. But we've been in a really dark tunnel in a way ever since "no more mutants." It's been a really dark time with no real hope for the future. Like Cyclops, in editorial we'd like to go beyond that dread of extinction.

Axel Alonso: Everything hinges on Hope. Back in Messiah Complex, Cyclops, acting on nothing more than faith, allowed Cable to jump with this girl into the time stream with no plan other than "bring her back when she's ready and when it's safe." Since that time, he has had to live with that decision and ponder everything, from the mortality of the mutant species to choices he had to make to ensure survival. Understand that he's been operating on nothing more than faith. There's no proof that Hope means anything to mutants. And as any reader of the books knows, there's more than a faint flicker of danger. Red hair, green eyes. Say no more. Really, the overarching theme of the X-Men for the last couple of years has been faith. What do they believe in? What do they stand for? And at the center of that storm has been Cyclops. If you've been reading CABLE, you know that two heroes, Bishop and Cable, have two very different ideas of who Hope is and what she means for the mutant race. For Cable, she's salvation. For Bishop, she's destruction. Maybe both are true. That's what Cyclops has to ponder and what readers have to ponder when we bring her back. By the end of Second Coming, readers will fully understand who Hope is and what she means for mutants.

So what can we draw from this? First off, it looks as though they'll finally revisit the early scenes in Messiah Complex where Hope was born. There has been a lot of mystery surrounding the birth, but there haven't been any answers. As for Hope herself, it seems they're playing up the overall uncertainty in her character. She is being billed as either a savior or destroyer (sound familiar?). Who and what she is appears to be more complex than just some Deus Ex Machina that's going to undo M-Day. Also, the red hair and green eyes comment once again finds is way with Alonso, which again hints at Jean Grey. However, there has been next to no mention of her. But considering the Phoenix hints, the appearance, and having a destructive/creative nature it's pretty damn hard to ignore. All indications are that Hope is going to be yet another Jean-lite, one who looks and acts like Jean Grey but isn't Jean Grey. Like Rachel Summers without the alternate universe mess. This once again feels like Marvel trying to have their cake and eat it too, wanting to bring Jean's star power back without disrupting their precious new version of Cyclops and Emma Frost. It would be a great story if it wasn't so damn blatant. If Hope looked nothing like Jean Grey, this would not be an issue. There are any number of ways they could have drawn her, but they gave her a look that was just like Jean. Could the subtext be any clearer?

In addition it appears that the end of Second Coming will mark yet another transition period for the X-men. The team may once again get reshuffled like they did after Messiah Complex and House of M. And for once it may actually end without so much doom and gloom, which seems to be a major theme of every crossover since 2000. It seems all events either have to end with a funeral or a massive demoralizing. It's as if the only way the stories can be interesting is if they are downers. Like people want to read a book that makes them depressed? If Second Coming ends in a way that doesn't require a fresh prescription of Prozac, I'll be content. You have a character in this story named Hope. Shouldn't it at least be hopeful?

March 31st is set to be the beginning. The aftermath begins in July. From the looks of it, Second Coming will set the stage for the next decade of X-comics. The question remains will the decade erupt with awesomeness or fizzle with all that which is lame?

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