Thursday, April 22, 2010

Second Coming: X-men Legacy #235 - Drama and Death

Another week has gone by and another chapter of Second Coming has arrived. This time it's Mike Carey's turn to flex his awesome and he does so in a way that would make a steroid abusing body builder enraged with envy. The story continues the tradition set up with the first issue, moving seamlessly from the previous installment with New Mutants and continuing into X-men Legacy. It actually feels so seamless that you could probably just call X-men Legacy something basic like Second Coming #4 and it would work just as well. That may not seem like much, but for anybody who has ever been caught up in these kinds of crossover's that's huge. It used to be a running gag that crossovers like this were akin to a bunch of lab rats running in all different directions through the same maze to get the same piece of cheese. For a series to be this coordinated is tantamount to seeing a mermaid riding a unicorn across a rainbow to a leprechauns pot of gold.

X-men Legacy has traditionally focused on Rogue as the main character and this issue certainly brings her into the picture. Her entrance feels natural since Cyclops and the Alpha team can't seem to track Hope and Cable anymore so they need to rely on Rogue, who seems to have a connection with Hope after she healed her in Messiah Complex. They use Ariel to teleport her to the action and they get right back on the trail of Hope and Cable, who are already hiding in the middle of nowhere as they so often have done.

While this is going on, the real action continues with the New Mutants as they battle Cameron Hodge. Karma was hurt at the end of the last issue and at Hodge's mercy. She is saved by Cannonball, but Hodge continues to show his douchebaggery by ramping up the assault. It ends up falling on Warlock to take down Hodge in a scene that is very satisfying to anybody who can't stop droning on about how inferior races are doomed to perish. It's like watching Hitler and the KKK get repeatedly disemboweled while they're forced to wear dresses and sing show tunes. Warlock hasn't had a lot of moments to shine up until this point, but he sure does here.

This is a big positive for the X-men, but that quickly gets washed out when Bastion deals the X-men another ace and shorts out Cerebro. Now Emma and the Cuckoos are blinded and the Alpha team is stuck going after Hope and Cable blind and dumb. As if Bastion weren't devious enough, he sends a fighter jet to bomb the Alpha Team's envoy and singes Wolverine and X-23 to the bone. He also kills Ariel, the teleporter who was supposed to be their escape plan. She's the first casualty in Second Coming and one of the few lowlights of this issue. For all the emphasis Cyclops put on mutant death, this one is brushed off pretty damn quickly. Even though Ariel is a lesser known character, it's forgotten faster than Ryan Leaf's pro football career. I expect more of Mike Carey here, but he more than makes up for it.

The Alpha team does find Hope and Cable just as the Purifiers are closing in and open up some much needed ass-kicking. This is where they end up having to make a hard decision. Bastion is tracking Hope by tracking Cable, whose techno-organic virus is essentially a neon sign blaring "I'M RIGHT HERE" to the very people looking to take Hope out. So the only way to protect Hope is to separate her from Cable. This leads to a very powerful moment between the two. Cable has rarely if ever let Hope out of her sight since she was a baby. For him to agree to this, he has to be desperate on a whole new level or possibly bat-shit from all the time traveling he's had to do.

After a brief debate, Hope agrees to go with Rogue and Nightcrawler. For added measure, Rogue powers up by absorbing as many mutant abilities as possible. By the end she looks so badass and tough she's practically a one woman army.

Need I say more? Given how much Mike Carey loves Rogue, it's only fitting she step up in this issue. It ends leaving Craig Kyle and Chris Yost a great opportunity for Logan, Cable, and the rest of X-Force to throw down and kick ass while Rogue and Kurt get Hope to safety.

There isn't much else to be said about how awesome this issue is. It continues the trend started by the previous three issues of being so cool there's next to nothing bad to report. If there is any worthy criticism it has to do with Ariel's death, which I already went over. There's also the matter of nobody reacting much to seeing Hope for the first time. Given she's not a baby anymore and bears an uncanny resemblance to Jean Grey, one might expect SOMEONE to notice. Then again, that would probably count as nit picking among Jean fans considering this is all going on in the heat of a battle. Hope could look like the Virgin Mary herself and they wouldn't have time to react. Hopefully, that comes in later. Other than this, there really isn't much else to criticize. The dialogue is fantastic, the pace is perfect, and the dialogue is spot on.

The next issue promises a prominent death. Many are still banking that Nightcrawler will be the one to bite it. That remains to be seen. Whatever the case, Second Coming is going hard and strong! It's riding a tidal wave of awesome and it promises to keep going. It is definitely worthy of a 5 out of 5, a 10 out of 10, and an A-plus. Bring on the next part! Second Coming is still awesome and dares to be better with each passing issue.

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