REVIEW: X-Men Second Coming ø1

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I’m hooked on X-Men: Second Coming just like I was on Messiah Complex and only one issue has been released.  I just finished reading it and my brain is already counting down to next Wednesday.  Yes, I read other books today including Blackest Night #8.  Yes, it was a great series, but the Marvel Universe (particular the X-Men’s corner) is where I live and this is a weekly series. Other books just can’t compete with that for my attention. I am going to spoil things here, but I do it out of joy and because I know many readers here aren’t likely to pick the book up directly (although maybe I’ll change your mind).

X-Men: Second Coming Chapter ø1 comes in the form of a special edition one-shot that leads into the next three issues of Uncanny X-Men, New Mutants, X-Men: Legacy, and X-Force, wrapping up in another X-Men: Second Coming Finale one-shot.  Chapter One is set after the events of Necrosha (which concluded in X-Force #25, also on sale this week) and picks up right after the events of Cable #24 with Cable and Hope arriving in the present at the remains of the X-Men’s Westchester mansion. While they’ve been gone, the X-Men have relocated to the West Coast in the wake of the most recent attack on their longtime home in New York.

Immediately upon arriving, the wayward time travelers are beset by the anti-mutant forces of the Right and the Sapien League.  These groups, along with the Purifiers and Humanity’s Last Stand, are pro-human hate groups that have long wanted to “wipe the mutant stain from the face of planet Earth”.  Someone or something that has advanced technology is tipping them off to the mutant “messiah’s” return to the present and is clearly helping them.  Longtime readers of the X-Force series that launched out of Messiah Complex know that Bastion, a cybernetic hybrid of a Sentinel Master Mold and a time-displaced Nimrod Sentinel from the future, has returned and resurrected a who’s who of mutant haters that lead these groups.  It’s unclear if these reborn psychopaths have free will, but they’re clearly loyal to Bastion and his grand design of mutant extinction is coming to pass.  With the mutant population at an all time low due to M-day, and Hope being the only mutant born since, now is the time for annihilation.

The pacing, plot and dialogue of Chris Yost and Craig Kyle (the current writers of X-Force) really came together beautifully in this issue.  As the long terms plots that began in the first issues of X-Force come together, they managed to put all the pieces clearly in place and give all the major players at least one great moment.  Just when we see all of Cyclops’ strategies to rescue Cable and Hope coming into play, the inevitable happens and the X-Men become all too aware that Cyclops has put together X-Force as a black ops team in a particularly gory moment.  Nightcrawler, having just recommitted to Cyclops’ plan in a relatively powerful moment, is the lens through which we see it all fall apart: there’s no way this can be good.

David Finch, who has grown to become one of my favorite artists with his amazing cover work, draws the issue. Getting to see an entire issue from him is a real treat and I believe this may be his first interior art since Moon Knight, which was years ago. He recently signed an exclusive contract with DC Comics, and he’s putting out some top-notch stuff so it’s sad to see him leave the titles I read. Top to bottom, the book looks great and there are some particularly incredible pages and panels (some of which can be seen in the free preview). The seasons changing in the rubble at the mansion, the two-page scene where the X-Men are teleported in to attack the Sapien League, and Hope holding the photo of the original X-Men really appealed to me, but there’s really not a page I didn’t like.  The pacing and perspective used was dynamic and well suited for the action.

Cover artwork for the series is provided by both David Finch and Adi Granov, but the Finch books look like they’re going to be hard to come by (shipping 1:25 and super expensive in the aftermarket). While I really enjoy Finch’s work, the Granov covers I’ve seen are actually more appealing in many ways. The faces and figures have a clean and statuesque look to them, and each cover has an epic quality like something you’d see in a movie poster, particularly this first issue.  Of course, there’s also the fact that I’ll actually able to find and afford them.

Obviously, this book represents a Category 5 Distraction for me.  I’ll be back with some thoughts on X-Men: Second Coming Chapter ø2 (Uncanny X-Men #523) next week. If it’s bad, I promise to tell you, but I really don’t see how that’s possible. In the meantime, let me know what you’re thinking.

More on X-Men: Second Coming
Second Coming preview / Chapter ø2

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  • jd said,

    Well said, Pete..I have little to disagree with you about, other than my lack of enthusiasm for this story. HOWEVER, that’s coming from someone who only has limited interest in the X-verse to begin with. The last X-story I thoroughly enjoyed was Whedon’s Astonishing run, and pretty much gave up on everything X during the New-Summers-Brother storyline (though I do enjoy X-Factor when I get around to it, but don’t actually consider that book to be part of the X-verse mainstream). The story is definitely SOLID and the art top-notch and that 2-page spread of the X-Men ‘porting in to take care of the Sapien League was both jarring, and hilarious in it’s timing. Not to mention bad-ass.
    However I just have never cared about Bastian. X-villains as a rogue’s gallery have never really intrigued me, other than Magneto, but he gets stale every so often. I’ll keep reading though, as it’s pretty interesting with Hope and all that..

  • ptb said,

    Thank you, JD. I’m a pretty hardcore X-Men fan, so I’m predisposed to liking this stuff. Especially given that the story is really well constructed and the planning over the last few years has had a great payoff so far.

    The Deadly Genesis/3rd Summers brother stuff wasn’t for everyone. I liked it, but there was a lot not to like. I can see why you bailed after how solid Whedon’s run was.

    X-Villains are tough. They’re typically very anti-mutant or very pro-mutant and if you’re not into that struggle they can come off flat. This story brings some of that to the forefront in that some of the all-time top mutant haters are together. Bastion should be a lot more intriguing than he’s been given that he’s a Master Mold (so very much a part of X-Men history) combined with a time-displaced sentinel from the future. Magneto is the tops though and should be making an appearance before the story is finished.

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