REVIEW: X-Men Second Coming 13

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This issue of X-Men: Second Coming was simply amazing. There’s no question about it, it’s a 5 out of 5 on a distraction scale from 1 to 5. It’s difficult to even try to consider the book as a single entity given that it’s Chapter 13 of 14, but I can’t imagine someone reading it and not wanting to know more. On that note, I’m going to spoil everything.

The issue is primarily the final battle between the X-Men and Bastion, and that’s exactly what it needed to be. There’s an amazing flashback to a conversation between Hope and Cable about returning to the present that extends out into the battle scene with Bastion on the Golden Gate Bridge. It brings home all of the small scenes with Cable and Hope throughout the series and was a great payoff for someone who thoroughly enjoyed the Cable series that spanned Messiah Complex, Messiah War and Second Coming. Unfortunately, fans of Cable had to witness his tragic demise as he sacrifices himself to save X-Force and return them to the present. Writers Craig Kyle and Chris Yost pen the end of yet another X-Man, but they do it so well. It’s a shame this is their final issue on an ongoing X-title and the series finale of X-Force.

The artwork is the best I’ve seen from Mike Choi and Sonia Oback and it perfectly translates the passion of the battle between Hope and Bastion. The colors are particularly amazing and I kept going back the the flashback and Cable’s final moments. As we see Hope fully demonstrate her powers for the first time, their dynamic nature is beautifully rendered from one jaw dropping panel to the next. Telekinetic armor and optic blasts lead you to think she’s manifesting Jean Grey and Scott Summers’ power sets and all the possible reasons why. Then on the next page she deals out an armored fist, a lightning strike, and an ice pillar before going in for the kill. As her memory of Cable describing how she will know when she’s ready to go back plays out, there’s a lot of talk of fire and we finally see a direct connection between Hope and the Phoenix.

The cover art this week is fantastic as it has been throughout the series. The Adi Granov image is mysterious and creepy. It hints at the Phoenix reveal without really committing to it before the reader sees it in the context of the story. It’s beautifully composed and shows an amazing use of light, color and the X. The David Finch variant cover epitomizes a great deal of the issue’s emotional substance as Cable once again goes to superhuman lengths to protect Hope. It’s a dark and gritty image that makes me think of the cover to Secret Wars #4. Once again, it’s hard to pick a favorite, but that Granov cover is the image my mind will go back to as the iconic image of Hope Summers.

I’m still not sure what exactly Hope is. The Phoenix Force did leave Rachel Grey and go somewhere during the X-Men: Kingbreaker series, and it seems this is where it landed. However, the Phoenix hasn’t shown the ability to use other mutants’ power sets, so it’s not that simple. Hope did touch Rogue as an infant and we’ve seen that they’re still connected in some way. Hope could be getting her powers from that initial contact as Rogue was wiped clean. Rogue was also carrying Virus 88 which could explain how Hope’s powers work as that was sort of a mutant cocktail. We also still don’t know who Hope’s parents are, and all signs could be pointing to Mimic or even Michael Pointer, Weapon Omega. He is from Alaska, but that would be so disappointing. As the action reaches it’s peak in this issue, there should be plenty of room to address all of this in Chapter 14 next week.

Chapter 13 is really something great. The X-Force issues of Second Coming have had a lot of big moments and the creative team really delivered on all of them. I didn’t like waiting an extra week for this book, but no one wants delays and this one was totally justified. In retrospect, the wait made reading the book even better. The only real downside is that I’m now waiting to read this week’s X-Men #1 until after I read Chapter 14 that ships next week. Even that’s not so bad, I can read this book a few more times between now and then.

More on X-Men: Second Coming
Chapter 12 / Chapter 14

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