Don't get me wrong. I'll gladly side with Storm in damn near anything, be it a superhero civil war or a pie eating contest. I just can't bring myself to side with her this time. She actually favors helping the Inhumans, even as they have the ultimate weapon on their side with Ulysses. Magneto's argument of, "let's not kiss the asshole that's shitting on us," just makes too much sense. The divide is now set and Civil War II: X-men #2 is ready to widen it. I don't know about Storm or those who support her, but I tend to distance myself from conflicts that may result in shit stains on my lips.
Regardless of my support or the possibility of getting shit on my face, I will always side with Storm when it comes to her and the X-men fighting the Brood. Turns out that Ulysses is still deciding to be helpful to everyone, including mutants, and that means predicting a Brood attack in North Carolina because I guess the Brood are pissed off about bathroom laws as well. Storm is only too happy to help Captain Marvel stop this shit storm before it gets too messy and I'm only too happy to see the X-men work with Captain Marvel. With Emma Frost missing and Magik being a demon-loving teenager, the X-men needs a strong, tough, sexy blonde on their side.
Anyone who has seen the X-men fight the Brood before won't see anything they haven't seen before. It still makes for some solid action, but that action ends up being secondary. While they're kicking some Brood ass, Storm lets it slip that they told Magneto about Ulysses. Captain Marvel, knowing that Magneto is a vindictive son-of-a-bitch, is probably inclined to bang her head against the nearest adamantium-laced wall. She knows as well any strong, tough, sexy blonde that vindictive old asshats like Magneto tend to fuck things up. She also knows they'll be lucky if he does it with his pants on.
It makes for a tough, but necessary conversation between Storm and Captain Marvel. In any other situation, their words would inspire thoughts of them oil wrestling naked on a beach in Tahiti. However, this is too relevant an issue within the context of Civil War II. Storm is reluctant to act against Magneto, not wanting to immediately assume he'll do the biggest dick move first. It shows she really is no Cyclops. He'd assume that shit and he wouldn't even need Captain Marvel to flash her tits to convince him. Again, I don't usually like disagreeing with Storm, but when Cyclops and Captain Marvel are on the same page, that's a big red flag.
On top of her reluctance to make necessary assumptions, Storm is also having a hard time keeping her team intact. The end of the first issue already demonstrated how her leadership skills have plenty of room for improvement. Nightcrawler decided that being on the side that works with the Inhumans, the same assholes whose giant fart cloud is killing their kind, isn't exactly good for his soul. So he ditches them and shows up at Magneto's base. He then goes onto make the most reasonable argument a Catholic can make on a non-contraceptive issue.
He makes an argument not unlike the one Tony Stark made in Civil War II #1. The Catholic in him isn't comfortable condemning someone for shit before they actually do it. He also isn't comfortable with the idea of the Inhumans controlling someone as powerful as Ulysses. If they wanted, they could just say that he had a vision about mutants going crazy and they need to be slaughtered. That or some lawyers from Disney will get to him and then mutants would really be fucked.
It's a powerful moment for a character in need of such a moment. It's also powerful in that Nightcrawler effectively establishes another side to the conflict in Civil War II, at least as it applies to the X-men. We all know where Magneto stands on anything that aids the Inhumans. This shows that others are capable of reaching similar conclusions without coming off as an asshole. In any conflict, that's an important thing to establish.
It's just as important to be ready to make a dick move the moment it becomes necessary. That means knowing the where and how of making such a dick move, which is where Fantomex comes in. Can you think of anyone more qualified to set up a dick move? I think not.
Magneto sends him to New Attilan, probably with a side-mission to take a shit in the Inhumans' living room and change their wi-fi passwords. Sure, he was a total dick in Apocalypse Wars and has been a generally oversized dick since Uncanny X-Force. However, so long as his dickisness is directed at the Inhumans, I can't help but root for him. Just typing that makes me throw up a little on my mouth.
Turns out Magneto isn't the only one preparing for a dick move against the Inhumans. Storm doesn't have anyone who's as big a douche as Fantomex, but she is friends with Gambit and that's close enough. She sends him to confront Fantomex and it goes about as well as Shaqille O'neil's rap career.
They start fighting. The ladies are probably disappointed to see that their pants stay on. I know Channing Tatum fans are still prepping their panties for a potential Gambit movie, but this only offers a fraction of that sexiness. It's actually the first time Gambit has helped Storm's team in any capacity since Secret Wars. He picks a damn good time to get up off his ass and do something because any side that has Fantomex is likely a side that's going to frustrate Storm in the immediate future. Good thing her hair is already white.
The fighting here is covert and subtle, something that helps set it apart from a typical clash against the Brood. There's some nice banter between the two. Some heads get busted. Some noses get broken. This all happens while the Inhuman guards come off as competent as a Paul Blart style mall cop. It's rare that the Inhumans come off as anything other than Marvel's most cherished bitches these days so I'll take this while I can. It only gets a little messy when Fantomex forgets how Gambit can make shit blow up and not just women's panties. I still have a hard time rooting for Storm's side, but when Fantomex gets his ass kicked, I'm all for it.
So take comfort, Channing Tatum fans. Gambit wins this round. He kicks Fantomex's ass, knocks him out, and gets him out of New Attilan before the Inhumans have yet another reason wave their dicks in the face of the entire mutant race. Odin knows they don't need more of that. Gambit coordinates with O5 Jean to get the fuck out of there, but not before revealing that they've already lost some support among their ranks with Nightcrawler. That should be the second sign that they're about to walk right into a shit storm and since they're on the side of helping the Inhumans, they're going to come out stinking more than most.
Psylocke, for one, is not fond of excessive shit stains. She's also not fond of Magneto starting another war. It's not like the mutant race is equipped to win jack shit at this point. They've go the Inhumans, the Avengers, and Disney's legal team working against them. At this point, they might as well be the Cleveland Browns of the Marvel universe. On top of that, he works with Fantomex. That alone is reason enough for Psylocke to get the fuck out of there and spit in Magneto's face in the process.
It leads to a tense confrontation with Sabretooth. However, he knows he's ill-equipped to fight a badass psychic ninja. It's another solid moment of drama where we see dissent among the ranks of the X-men. Neither side seems able to generate a consensus of any kind and when you can't get consensus on a team with powerful psychics, then you've got a big fucking problem. At a time when the Inhumans get to play in the Marvel universe with cheat codes, you can't afford too many problems.
To his credit, Magneto doesn't add to these problems by going after Psylocke. He doesn't even crash the X-jet she steals. I get the sense he's saving a dick move like that for someone who deserves, namely the Inhumans. He's still down one badass psychic ninja. Not to knock Nightcrawler or anything, but Psylocke looks better in a thong and kicks more ass. So Magneto needs other allies to fuck over the Inhumans and honestly, I'm eager to see him tap every one of them. We know Marvel will let the Inhumans win by default, but we can at least trust Magneto to put up a decent fight.
So...is it awesome?
Well nobody's face is covered in shit just yet, but the approaching stench is clearly there. Again, Bunn does not rush things. He actually takes the time to lay out the differing sides within the X-men. What a fucking concept, right? Actually taking time to flesh out certain characters and explore their thoughts? Does he think this is a Brett Ratner movie or something? I'll set aside the sarcasm for a moment and just say there's a time for patience in a story. In a porno, it doesn't work. In a major tie-in story with a major crossover event, it does. It's really that simple.
Aside from a clash with the Brood, the action in Civil War II: X-men #2 was limited. However, the tension and the growing divide between the two teams of X-men escalates in a major way. Lines are drawn. Both sides try to stop one another before the shit starts flying. They only really delay it. The dramatic angle is the biggest appeal of this issue, but there's little doubt that asses are about to be kicked. Friendships are about to be strained. Balls are about to be busted and without Emma Frost no less. In other words, stock up on rubber boots and air freshners. Shit is about to get real.
Final Score: 7 out of 10