Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Secong Coming - Awesome as a Foundation
It's finally here! Second Coming is upon us. And no, I don't mean the second coming of Jesus Christ on this Easter holiday. I mean something much more awesome. X-men Second Coming, the crossover that has been building since House of M, officially began today with the release of the Second Coming one-shot.
This one-shot is an issue written by Craig Kyle and Chris Yost, the dynamic duo of X-men who have been one of the few consistent writing teams in this series. The art is by the always spectacular David Finch. Never one to disappoint, he gives a consistency and color that make each moment and expression a sight to behold. It's a shame talent like his was wasted on shit bombs like Ultimatum. His pen has given life to Second Coming and it's already off and running!
It starts just as Cable 25 ended with Hope and Cable appearing in the ruins of the Xavier Institute. As one would expect, as soon as they land they come fact to face with some killer robots with creepy smiles. Hope never had a birthday with creepy clowns so this is easy compensation. The shooting starts and so does the kickass with Cable and Hope making their escape, once again going on the run.
While this is happening, Cyclops is having a bit of a breakdown on Utopia. Fresh off the events of Necrosha, the mutant population is now down to 181. To mutants that's the equivalent of 100,000,000 human deaths. He lays out a plan to hold out, but shows he's getting extremely frustrated and it just so happens his means of venting involves blowing a hole through the wall. Punching a pillow might be easier, but he's Cyclops. He's got the fate of the mutant race on his shoulders. Sometimes a pillow just doesn't cut it.
So then the Stepford Cuckoos enter the picture, saying they detected Cable but only Cable. For some reason Hope isn't showing up as a mutant signature. This is not unprecedented. Hope was able to block Cerebro when she was just a baby. Now that she's 17 she could probably block 100 Cerebros and still have the energy to perform brain surgery. So Cyclops assembles an alpha team, consisting of both regulars and X-force to go after Hope. At one point Nightcrawler questions whether or not Hope is what she's cracked up to be. He responds with faith. He really doesn't seem to know. He's just banking on her pulling through.
So the team heads to the mansion where the Purifiers are still hanging around. Some more bloody fighting ensues (as is often the case in any Kyle & Yost comic) and some tension builds when X-23 jabs her claws into the head of one of the wounded. Apparently, they forgot their not on an X-Force mission and killing isn't exactly thought highly of. It leads to a tense moment that Wolverine and Cyclops will have to answer for. That will probably have to wait because they also detected both Cable and Hope nearby. They're on the run, but in deep trouble.
A the very end we get a glimpse of the men behind the attacks. The big villain here is Bastion and the ones helping him are Bolivar Trask, Graydon Creed, and William Stryker. So these are basically the all-stars of human douch-bags looking to destroy all mutants. No super-villains here. These are just bigoted humans who get their panties in a knot whenever they think of someone with mutant powers more awesome than their ability to rub their stomachs and pat their heads at the same time. The issue leaves the reader hoping that these men will be horribly maimed and their entrails mixed with elephant shit by the end of the issue. So for once there's no tragic villain. It's all good guys versus bad guys. And isn't that how it should be?
What else can be taken from this issue? Well for one, it basically broadcasts over a loudspeaker that Nightcrawler is going to die. He had some interesting conversations with Cyclops and X-23. He's talking as the one with the strict morality. He might as well paint a target on his back, grab a vest laced with grenades, and run out into the streets of a war zone naked singing Celine Dion. It's practically official. This guy will be dead by the end of this crossover. The preview teasers were very clear. Someone is going to die and that someone is going to be Kurt Wagner.
What else? Well there is still some major sentiment that Hope Summers is tied to Jean Grey. This issue didn't offer any major hints. But it did offer this:
Notice where Hope's finger is pointed. Yep, that's Jean Grey in her Original Five glory. That may or may not be a hint, but even she has to see that she looks VERY similar to this woman. It's still early and there's any number of ways it could unfold. It seems with all the Phoenix teases it will be nothing short of retarded for Hope NOT to have some connection with Phoenix and Jean Grey by default. Of course, Marvel has been known to flirt with retardation before. This is one plot point that has always been taboo. Second Coming is probably the most perfect moment for Jean to come back and if she doesn't, then they're just wasting a golden opportunity.
So overall, the verdict is clear. Second Coming is awesome. There's action, drama, dialogue and some kick ass art to boot. All great stories need to start out strong. In the case of Second Coming the status is so far so awesome!