Act One of Second Coming concludes as the X-Men finally get Hope and Cable back to Utopia – and naturally I’m here to waffle incoherently about it.
Synopsis: While Bastion and his men track the X-Men, the New Mutants are ordered to return to Utopia following their infiltration of Hodge’s base – although Shan is badly injured. Halfway through their conversation with Cyclops, communications die. The Alpha Team stay to fight the Sapien League, while Nightcrawler, Rogue and Hope attempt to teleport their way to Utopia. Unfortunately, Bastion catches up with them. Just as Bastion is about to strangle Hope, Nightcrawler teleports between them, although Bastion’s arm becomes embedded in his chest as a result. Nightcrawler teleports Hope to Utopia, damaging Bastion in the process, but his injuries are too severe and he dies. The Alpha Team returns to Utopia to the news of their fallen comrade, while the Sapien League retrieves Bastion’s automatically repairing body. He instructs them to “proceed with the plan.”
Mini Review: Kyle and Yost kicked off Second Coming with a pretty decent issue, and their second of the crossover turns out to be the best yet. Perhaps I’m biased because of all the awesome Rogue action, but I really enjoyed this. A few great little moments and one great big moment. Despite some inconsistencies with previous issues, Choi and Oback’s artwork is probably my favourite of the crossover, although I appreciate it can look a bit over-rendered to some. If I had to complain about anything (besides what I complain about below) it’s that you’d expect a book called X-Force to actually focus a bit more on X-Force, even in a crossover – and similarly, you’d expect Nightcrawler to die in a book where he’s at least part of the cast. Still, it’s mainly nitpicking. Generally speaking, a decent effort on every level.
Not that I don’t like this intro page, but I have to ask: is this the first time Layla Miller has been called “Butterfly” in-universe?
As near as I can tell, that information has only turned up on the Internet until now. I could be wrong (in which case, a shiny penny to whomever tells me where this fact has appeared in print before now) but if not, it sets an interesting precedent in fans giving a character a codename purely by digital osmosis. On a related note, Bastion’s forces needs to update their headshot, because Layla isn’t a kid anymore. And, for that matter, this map might be wrong because as far as anyone reading X-Factor is concerned, she’s not actually in New York at the moment – she’s not even part of X-Factor right now!
Also, I’m not sure why Rogue’s name is in speechmarks, because “Anna Marie Raven” has been generally accepted as her “real” name for a long time now, and they’ve managed to get Wolverine’s out of him.
And finally… Vanisher’s name is Telford Porter? Allow me to say: OUCH. That’s actually worse than the Headsman being called “Cleavon Twain”. Still, it’s lucky ol’ Telford gained teleporting powers, because it would have looked pretty stupid if he didn’t.
Ah, the joy of co-ordinating multiple artists. Wolverine’s healing factor has regrown his hair and costume, which you’ll remember were burned away in last issue’s car explosion. Ditto for X-23. But that sort of makes sense – she is Wolverine’s clone, after all, so if he can regrow his clothes, so can she.
In similar artist-juggling concerns, Rogue has decided to zip up her costume properly since the previous issue. Good for her. She’s also lost the wings she absorbed off Angel, which is odd, but not impossible.
This was an awesome moment, and although this issue maybe has a little too many splash pages, this was a reveal that was worth it. Spending a few chapters building Bastion up as a threatening general means that when he actually deigns to turns up for a fight in person, you’re actually scared for the characters. I love the cracked pavement around his feet, as well, indicating that he arrived very fast and very powerfully.
Oh. The wings are back now. Oh look, it’s time to get nerdy again!
Rogue can absorb the powers of other mutants, right – so obviously, she can absorb Angel’s powers and manifest his wings. However, she shouldn’t be able to manifest those wings at will, because her ability to use powers is limited by the nature of the mutation. She can’t control passive mutations (ie: Nightcrawler’s blue skin, Angel’s wings, Wolverine’s claws) any more than the person she took them from.
I suppose, if we wanted to give the X-office the benefit of the doubt, we could say that this is a new ability of hers she’s discovered – to store and recall powers – now that she’s gained control of her ability. Is that enough for a no-prize? I think so.
Aaaand there goes Nightcrawler. Worst kept secret ever? Probably. But that’s a pretty good death scene, and it puts pressure on Hope to actually deliver as a character. On the flip side, I’m not entirely sure Nightcrawler was the right man for the job here. Story-wise, Cable would have made the most sense, though I can see why they’d rather keep him alive because he’s a more commercially viable character that Kurt (and might be needed further down the storyline). Still, let’s be honest – Nightcrawler was basically killed because no-one had much interest in using him for anything. Is that reason enough? It’ll do, I suppose.
Oh. Turns out Hope didn’t matter anyway. Could’ve fooled me, given how much time you spent on it, Mr. Bastion sir. In any case, that’s Act One over. We’ll have to wait until next issue for confirmation, but I believe that the story from Second Coming Prelude fits in this gap. The story continues in Uncanny X-Men #526!
In which I catch up with some of the predictions I made in Chapter Zero of this article series.
Nightcrawlerwatch: That’s a tick in the Nightcrawler box, then. I knew that “One Will Die” teaser didn’t refer to Ariel.
As a side note, Nightcrawler joins Thunderbird, Wolverine, Banshee, Cyclops and Colossus as members of the “All New, All Different” X-Men team who have been dead at one point or another. Sunfire and Storm are, as far as I’m aware, the only two members to avoid death entirely since 1975, but in the case of Sunfire, he did once have both his legs cut off, which is sort of bad too.