Just in time for Chapter 4 of second coming – my review of the events of Chapter 3, as seen in New Mutants #12.
Synopsis: The New Mutants pre-emptively attack Cameron Hodge and The Right in their own base to prevent them providing reinforcements to the Sapien League. Meanwhile, the Sapien League is doing reasonably well without backup, managing to take Magik off the board with a weaponised ritual that shunts her into Limbo. To turn the tide of battle, Angel switches into Archangel mode and slices Stryker in half, scattering the League’s forces – but Cable and Hope have already scarpered, unsure of the situation. In San Francisco, Rogue experiences something strange, while back at the Right’s facility, Hodge gets into his giant spider body and corners Karma.
Mini Review: The bulk of this issue is a largely off to the side, focusing on the New Mutants at the expense of Hope, Cable and the Alpha Team. While that’s good for New Mutants readers, I’m less sure it’s a story I want to read. Although I enjoy seeing Cameron Hodge in a nostalgic way, I’m not sure he’s contributing anything to the plot. Karma’s plight, in particular, feels a little bit too falsely engineered. Cable’s decision to flee the X-Men is close to baffling, and the scene itself continues poorly from the previous issue, which ended with a mexican stand-off and opens with the X-Men charging into battle and Cable & Hope pinned down behind a car. In fairness, there is a lot more momentum in this issue than Chapter Two – it just feels like the plot’s going sideways rather than forwards at present.
It’s good that someone appears to have noticed that Cyclops has been acting like an insane person for months now. It’s just a shame that someone has to be Sunspot, not Cannonball.
As we saw early on, the pressure does appear to be getting to Cyclops, and scenes like this point to a schism in the X-Men coming sooner rather than later. Magneto would be the obvious choice to step in, having recently “proven” his loyalty by bringing back Kitty Pryde and allying himself with Namor, so look for that to be the events suggested by the “One Will Lead” promo.
And off Illyana goes, presumably into the Second Coming: Hellbound miniseries. This is the kind of thing I was talking about when I said the plot had sideways momentum.
I don’t think it was Wolverine’s intention, but Archangel takes this order literally.
More angst heaped on Nightcrawler = even more likelihood that he’ll die. As sometime Comics Daily contributer Julian recently remarked, you can tell they’ve got plans to kill off Nightcrawler because he’s actually had some lines. Couldn’t have put it better myself.
Ah, good. Ariel’s arrived. Wait, who?
Don’t feel bad for not knowing this one. We’re not quite on the level of “Which of these dead mutants is Meld?” hilarity, but Ariel’s pretty close to that. She’s an alien whose race has the ability to open teleportation portals, but only in existing doorways, if you can believe that limitation. And she was once on a team with Devil Dinosaur and Moon Boy called the “Fallen Angels”. With the power of persuasion, she’s also the sole mutant member of her race (much like Warlock, and Longshot, and various other characters who appeared during the 80s and were tenuously defined as mutants so that they could join the X-Men without violating the core concept).
Although Cable’s actions are irritating in terms of the plot, they could be justified in part by the fact that last time Cable was in this time period, the X-Men was full of ex-marauders and villains, so he’s got good reason to be suspicious of the team. On the other hand, a quick conversation could have sorted this out.
The X-Men’s prisoners here are Sebastian Shaw (The Black King), captured by Frost in a recent Uncanny annual, Donald Piece (The White King), who was captured in the short-lived Young X-Men series, and John Greycrow (Scalphunter) who was last seen being forced to fly a plane-load of Predator X’s to Utopia during the crossover of the same name. The pointed shot of Pierce suggests that he might somehow be Bastion’s “man on the inside” that Cable was speculating about, since he is, after all, a cyborg.
Rogue’s apparent connection to Hope, meanwhile, follows up on a dangling plot thread from Messiah Complex where the infact Hope, rather than being killed by Rogue’s “death touch”, cured her of it. The two seems to have a psychic link as a result, and though it isn’t yet clear what those events imply about Hope’s mutant powers, it seems we will get a proper follow up on it. And probably quite soon, given that the next chapter of the book is in X-Men Legacy #235.
In which I catch up with some of the predictions I made in Chapter Zero of this article series.
Nightcrawlerwatch: As noted, a little more time for Nightcrawler, building him up for the death that I’m massively convinced will happen. (Side note: mentioning to British comic creators who are privvy to Marvel’s plans that “It’s a shame about Nightcrawler, isn’t it?” will not trick them into giving confirmation. We tried it.)
Magnetowatch: There’s no sign of Magneto at all yet, but let’s face it, people are unhappy with Cyclops. That narrows down “One Will Lead” to either Frost or Magneto, and the former wouldn’t be much of a twist.
As you’re probably aware, the next instalment of these features might be a little disrupted due to the volcano (yes, that old chestnut) but, let’s face it, I might just find a way to get hold of the issues in time, if you know what I mean. Then again, there wasn’t any volcano eruption last Thursday and it still took me 6 days to write it. But I got there in the end. Back here next week (ish) for X-Men Legacy #235!