Age of X-Man: Prisoner X #2
Lucas Bishop continues to search for the source of his mysterious note from #1, leading him to many encounters throughout the Prison complex and revealing some of the complexities of the prison as it is constructed and managed. We begin to see the inklings of Warden Forge's side-mission of rehabilitation through observation here, although it is made abundantly clear that rehabilitation is not the prison's primary objective.
In a striking encounter with Hank McCoy, we learn the necessity for conforming to the standard and expected performances in the struggle to survive may be wider spread than previously believed. All of these encounters and experiences seem to track perfectly with the notion of an anti-utopian narrative and culminate with another encounter with Bishop's sister, Shard, acting clearly now as a 'Ghost in the Machine', leading to a psychic and/or virtual encounter with various incarnations of Bishop before he is laid to rest back in his cell.
After a slower-than-expected start, Prisoner X #2 escalates the stakes quickly by establishing the prison in the mold of Foucault’s interpretation of the Panopticon, a tool used by a societal structure rooted in discipline to observe and normalize non-conformists. This take, of course, is the obvious direction to push a series such as this but felt absent in the first issue yet omnipresent in the second.
The artwork by Peralta here continues to maintain a dominantly structured view as we move about the prison complex through what feels like the eye of the many observing cameras, yet more panels are askew in this issue, illustrating the fragile structure of the illusion. More and more there is a sense of blindspots, spaces in which the eye can’t quite reach, observe, and control. These blackout zones seem intentionally highlighted by the occasional use of negative space on the page and the blackening of the gutters. It seems only a matter of time before the illusion crumbles and light finds its way into the narrative.
Very quickly, I would like to make a nod to the elephant in the room– Dani Moonstar.
Dani also retains her memories within the Age of X-Man but as has been pointed out on numerous discussion threads, Dani is the only character that exists both inside the AoX narrative as well as the current, 616 Uncanny narrative. I believe to assume that this dualing of the character is an editorial oversight is folly. Given the events of Rosenberg’s time throughout the past year on various X-projects, I’d be willing to venture that the Uncanny Dani is likely the one that doesn’t belong where she is rather than Ayala’s version. Time will certainly reveal more on this predicament, but I am convinced it is an intentional move, not accident.
Lucas Bishop continues to push against the walls of the false reality he finds himself in, in Age of X-Man: Prisoner X #2.
Age of X-Man: Prisoner X #2: Discipline and Punish
Writing - 8.5/10
Storyline - 9/10
Art - 8.5/10
Color - 8/10
Cover Art - 8/10
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