That's what Death of X is to many X-men fans, an overtly bias dick move. They've made it painfully clear whose dicks they want to suck in this story. The X-men, under Cyclops' leadership, are grim and solemn, looking to start a war the second they have a chance. The Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners are all sunshine and rainbows. Hell, Crystal probably shits chocolate milkshakes in their world. They've set up a horrendously bias, overtly unbalanced conflict that's about to take a bit steaming shit all over the X-men and it's not going to smell like chocolate. Death of X #2 is basically another dose of laxatives and I'll be holding my nose for the duration of this review.
My nose may suffer, but my eyes are more than happy to take in Aaron Kuder's artwork as Storm meets up with Medusa, the current ruler of the Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners. She basically tells us the same shit we found out in the first issue. Their giant green fart cloud is killing mutants and Storm, like everyone else in the X-men, has a big fucking problem with that.
Medusa kindly points out that the Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners know nothing of these effects. As far as they know, their big fart cloud has the same impact on mutants as potato chips, minus the salty aftertaste. She comes off as sincere and shocked, but only to the extent that a North Korean diplomat comes off as sincere and shocked when he finds out his country has a bad reputation. At the very least, she seems willing to work with Storm on dealing with this issue, which is more than North Korea has ever managed. That much, I'll concede.
They have some pretty in depth discussions, but not much comes of it. Again, we're basically told shit we already know. And just as before, the Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners are portrayed as all sunshine, rainbows, and unicorn shit. Medusa carries herself as being just as shocked and appalled by this development. She even enlists Crystal to notify her that the next big fart cloud is heading for Madrid and they should get any mutants in its path into the next time zone. It's a wholly unreasonable request with an unreasonable time frame, but that's pretty much every Tuesday in the Marvel universe.
It seems like a concession, but there are X-men not named Cyclops who aren't convinced. Forge rightly points out to Storm that Medusa may be more inclined to help her own people than a bunch of mutants who have a nasty habit of getting attacked by killer robots. Remember, this is Forge. He builds awesome shit. He doesn't regularly beat Reed Richards in chess or anything, but if even he can sense that the Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners may not be entirely sincere, that's saying something.
There's a concerted effort here to make Medusa come off as an innocent, untainted victim here. She never gives the impression that the mutant-killing effects of their giant fart cloud were known. She just worries what may happen if one single mutant suspects as such. Once again, she comes off smelling like Taylor Swift's perfume.
Not surprisingly, Cyclops doesn't get that same effort. Before learning all the facts and assessing the situation, which he has done compulsively and effectively for nearly 50 fucking years, he decides to basically fuck himself over and go for broke. That involves using the collective psychic talents of Emma Frost and the Stepford Cuckoos to announce to the world that the Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners lied, their fart cloud kills mutants, and he's going to wage a fucking war to stop it.
Now let me stop for a moment, unclench my nose, and whiff in the bullshit here. This is the same Cyclops who, not so long ago, decided to do the exact opposite in Uncanny X-men #600. This is a character who, in nearly every other situation, assesses the situation carefully and does not jump the gun. He leaves that shit to Wolverine and others like him. Now here he is, throwing lit matches at a grease fire, and doing everything possible to NOT think this through. I expect this kind of shit from Wolverine, Deadpool, and even Spider-Man. For Cyclops though, it doesn't just feel forced. It feels like someone just spit on a blank piece of paper and called it the Mona Lisa.
He doesn't just stop at warning mutants either. He basically takes the objectivity of a North Korean reporter and claims this fart cloud will kill humans as well. Naturally, it causes the shit to hit the fan in Madrid. It's the exact opposite of sound strategy. Sure, it may rally humans and mutants to his side, but he's a fucking X-man. He knows what happens when people rally around fear and paranoia. Killer robots usually aren't far behind. The fact that Cyclops, the same skilled tactician that beat Bastion and pwned the Avengers, can't see this is a fucking joke. It's so forced that it kills any sense of drama or impact.
Along with a whole lot of terrified mutants and humans, the Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners get the message as well. It completely changes their mission. In the last issue, it was all sunshine and roses when they traveled to Japan to watch their fart cloud roll through a populated area. Hell, some treated it like a 4th of July barbecue. Now, an entire city is losing their shit because Cyclops delivered a psychic message that gave them plenty of reason to. It makes their task of getting mutants out of the way that much harder. Again, they're set up as the heroes and the victims. It feels about as sincere as the comments section of an anti-feminist message board because it had to be so fucking forced.
At the very least, it leads to some decent action that allows Aaron Kuder to show off his art skills. Crystal heads out into the giant fart cloud and meets up with Storm, who is uniquely equipped to deal with fart clouds. It's enough to make you wonder why the fuck the X-men ever had to move to Limbo in the first place. They got someone who can control the fucking clouds. I'm sure there's a reason, but I'm not sure it's a non-bullshit reason.
Bullshit reason or not, it does the trick. It diverts the fart cloud from Madrid and saves whatever humans or mutants would've been fucked over. This still doesn't change the fact that Cyclops scared the everloving shit out of everybody with his psychic message, but it at least mitigates one problem. That's the most the X-men can hope for these days. That's probably the most that Fox's lawyers will allow.
It's still not much of a victory in the X-men's eyes. While the Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners are just inconvenienced by this shit, they're burying one of their fallen friends. On Muir Island, some of Cyclops' team, as well as some visitors, show up to bury Multiple Man and his clones. It's another grim, solemn scene that highlights the bleak, dire state of the X-men. It's sad, but it's consistent with the overall theme of the story so I'll give it that.
There's even a nice moment with Colossus and Magik, which is also kind of forced because before Uncanny X-men #600, these two had a lot of reasons to hate each other. Now, they just brush that shit off without really confronting it. That may be a good way to deal with internet trolls, but issues with demon-loving siblings? That's pushing it. Still, it's a sincere moment that reinforces the X-men's sentiment towards the Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners. They think their big fart cloud is sacred. They'll never just destroy it. They'll gladly let mutant suffer. That's just how fucked the mutant race is these days.
Back in Madrid, people are still losing their shit. The X-men decide, reasonably so, that they need to bring in some backup to settle people the fuck down. So how does Crystal decide to help? She decides, unreasonably so, to use the powers of the Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners' lasted recruit from the last issue. Those powers involve putting everybody, including the X-men, to sleep. In a busy city with people driving cars, holding babies, and walking down stairs, this ranks right up there with mixing laxatives with sleeping pills in terms of a shitty idea.
They don't even have the fucking decency to warn Storm and her team. They just see all this chaos, decide it's too much of an inconvenience to actually do something, and resort to putting everyone to sleep. It works, but it's as big a dick move as anything Cyclops did. At the very least, Cyclops warned them of imminent danger. The Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners just created new danger by putting everyone to sleep without first checking whether they were holding babies, hot cups of coffee, or lit matches. Even so, they'll still come off as the innocent victims. It's so forced at this point that most people reading this will probably be numb to it at this point and I don't like being numbed unless weed is involved.
So now the X-men and the Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners have even more reasons to kill each other. For a moment, they're able to help one another. Then one side decides to put them all to sleep without warning them. Between this and Cyclops' bullshit, I think both sides have disqualified themselves from being labeled competent diplomats. So what's the solution? You bring in someone who's as diplomatic as a recovering crack head. That someone is Magneto.
It probably helps that Emma Frost is the one to contact him. Hell, she probably showed him her tits just to sweeten the deal. Magneto stopped putting up with Cyclops' shit towards the end of his non-revolution. Now, he has a chance to flex his nuts again with the Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners. That means he's probably the most objective, untainted, unforced personality in this conflict. How sad is that?
So...is it awesome?
Well, I may have been better off just amputating my nose completely. Like Fox News, I never expected it to be fair and balanced. At the very least, I hoped there would at least be some fucking effort. Guess I was hoping for too much. This is not Civil War or Civil War II. Marvel is not trying to make this a balanced conflict in the slightest. They basically force Cyclops into being irrational, impulsive, paranoid, and stupid. This is the same guy who instinctively analyzes, strategizes, and counters every battle plan as a habit. Now, we're supposed to accept he's this fucking stupid? After waging war against Bastion, the Avengers, and the Phoenix Force?
Well toss a pile of shit in a bucket, mix in some ice, and call it Bud Light because that's exactly what we get in Death of X #2. There's no effort to assess or analyze the situation. It just jumps into full-blown conflict between the X-men and Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners without anybody thinking it through. There's no organization. There's no context. There's no possible way for there to be any drama whatsoever. Again, you can also tell which side Marvel favors. It basically ensures this story is so forced and contrived that it's not the least bit compelling.
Now I'm not going to blame the writers here. Charles Soule, Jeff Lemire, and Aaron Kuder are basically given a shit sandwich here that they have to eat. Too much of this reeks of the same agenda that ended the Fantastic Four's long-running series. They HAVE to make Cyclops evil and after Uncanny X-men #600, they really don't have the tools to do that. They HAVE to force it. I don't blame them, but that doesn't make the story any less shitty. If you're at all hoping for some context and depth, kill those hopes with a machete. They're not here and if Fox's lawyers have anything to say about it, they'll be legally barred for the foreseeable future.
Final Score: 3 out of 10