Actually posted before the next issue comes out for a change, Chapter Nine of our look at the current X-Men crossover, Second Coming. Click behind the cut to read more!
Synopsis: The issue opens with a 10-page fight sequence in which the X-Men repel the first wave of Nimrods, but not without some severe injuries. As the X-Men recuperate, Bastion summons more Nimrods from the future. The X-Men realise that Bastion’s forces in the future are too great to fight, and decide that they can use the last jump on Cable’s time-travelling device to take them into the future. Cyclops decides to send X-Force with him, acknowledging that they can never return. As the team disappeared into the future, leaving Hope alone, the second wave of Nimrods emerges from the portal.
Mini Review: Kyle and Yost seem to be the masterminds behind this crossover, given that they wrote the intro bookend and that the story is populated with villains who turned up during X-Force – so you’d expect their issues to be quite important. And in a sense, this one is, because some big stuff happens to several characters. However, the issue is also riddled with plot holes and poor storytelling, making it hard to love. The pace is back up to an enjoyable level, at least, so hopefully the plot with straighten itself out over the next few issues. Although an apparent one-week gap next week doesn’t fill me with optimism…
Uh…huh. Opening a comic with 10 pages of silent action is an unusual step, to say the least. I know I wasn’t the only person who wondered whether they’d fucked up with the lettering at first.
On the one hand, I see why they did it. Clearly, the intention was to add gravitas and a sense of importance to a fight scene that could otherwise have just been the latest in a string of many. The lack of text gives it an ethereal, adrenaline-saturated quality which reinforces the fear the X-Men have shown at the prospect of fighting a bunch of Nimrods.
It doesn’t make any fucking sense, does it?!
Here is a blurry panel of nothing:
And here is something deeply unclear happening to Hellion:
The likely explantion is that a Nimrod’s counter-measures have somehow burnt off his hands. But that’s not what the page shows. It could just as easily show him over-exerting his powers and burning away his hands. We don’t know because there’s no dialogue to explain this ambiguous image.
In short: I can see why Kyle and Yost thought this was a good idea. But if nothing else, it reinforces the need for dialogue in a comic. To get away with silence, you need an artist that’s a strong storyteller – doubly so if you’re not. Without seeing the script, we can’t be certain who made the choices as to what ended up being depicted, but either way, the team fell short of executing it properly.
Elsewhere, one of them mega-deadly Nimrods is taken out by a single bullet in the eye. I know Domino’s lucky, but THAT lucky? I remember when an entire team of X-Men would have trouble with a single Nimrod. Somewhere along the line, they got nerfed.
Eh? Sensors FAILED after 170,000. That’s some poorly designed code. Stack overflow, perhaps? (That’s just a little programming joke for you nerds out there.)
Quote of the crossover.
Good to see they managed to whip up Cable and Cypher a couple of extra uniforms for their ULTRA SECRET WETWORKS SQUAD. Who the hell is making these?
This is a pretty melodramatic description of what just happened. Yes, okay, there’s only one jump left. But there’s a GIANT HOLE IN TIME a couple of minutes up the road that leads straight to the same future they’re jumping to. HMM, I WONDER IF THAT MIGHT COME INTO PLAY? Also, Cable is resourceful enough that even if Wolverine wasn’t going with him, I’d expect to see him back at some point.
All that said, Cable’s “goodbye” to Hope and Cyclops’ grief are genuine enough that I do think that even though X-Force ARE coming home, Cable probably won’t be.
Speaking of X-Force: Where the hell is Elixir at the moment? In Messiah War, he learnt something pretty important about Hope, so it seems like he should be a major part of this story. But he’s not. Indeed, he potentially has the power to heal Hellion and Karma’s missing appendages, but no-one’s even mentioned him, let alone given a reason why he’s not around. There was a throwaway line at the end of X-Force #25 that he was “having trouble shifting out of his black form” or something, but unless there’s a Bishop-style twist coming, I’m inclined to say it’s a bit lazy not to address him.
In which I catch up with some of the predictions I made in Chapter Zero of this article series.
Phoenixwatch: Still nothing about Phoenix. Like, not even a single mention. Were all those hints in Cable’s solo series really red herrings? That “one will rise” teaser showed some Phoenix involvement pretty unequivocally, but we’re almost in the third act and there’s been nothing. At all.
Cablewatch: My insistance that Cable will die (or get lost in time) is looking more certain than ever. Frankly, I’m almost ready to tick it off now.
X-Men: Blind Science – As it turns out, this WAS a book set entirely between the moment when they set off the bomb and the rig exploded. In which case, fair enough. It turned out to be a pretty fun X-Club story, centred on Dr. Rao, as Bastion’s forces trick try and trick her into recreating her mutant “cure” by placing them in a false future, portrayed as being the one where the X-Men won. Dr. Nemesis gets all the best lines (plus, how can you not love a comic with NAZI DOLPHINS and kitten-experimentation?) but the issue stumbles with its lead, because Rao has never really been that well-defined as a character. Shoving her into a starring role at this point feels like too little, too late, and her redemptive arc of “I must atone for my sin of ‘curing’ the X-Gene” has really just sprung fully-formed out of nothingness. Spurrier’s clearly channelling Ellis for the duration of the issue, which is sometimes brilliant (“There will be crotch-punching”) and sometimes… not so (“Science-Gaze sees all, brainfail!”).
As for importance to the wider arc? Well, it’s pretty well self-contained, though it does explain how Graydon Creed manages to fail Bastion. Just like Trask, Stryker, Lang and Hodge have done. Gee, I bet he’s really glad he resurrected the best of the best anti-mutant bigots, because they’re proving so useful right now.
And that’s it for another week. Next week: NOTHING. Because apparently there’s no Second Coming issue out. Was it a planned break? Or is Axel Alonso going to lose 10% of his quarterly bonus over the schedule slippage? I don’t know. Either way, there’ll be no new instalment of this feature until the next chapter comes out. See you back here at an indeterminate point in the future for chapter 10!