It's Bring Your Kids to Work Day for Scott when he and his time-displaced and/or interdimensional children investigate the sudden appearance of an Island which appears to be calling to Karoka.
There is a lot to like, and a lot to be frustrated by, in the second issue of X-Men. Hickman has always been flawed (as all great revolutionaries are) but he is occasionally able to lean into these weaknesses (his uneven characterizations and heavy-handed dialogue are, by far, the greatest of these problems. His substantial ego and singular vision results in occasional and total disregard for franchise history) in such a way as to present them as strengths. But he doesn’t quite manage it this time. I’ll get to why, in a moment.
When he succeeds, when his stories land, they go with a tremendous amount of force. And so I’ll list the strengths of this story first. It was nice to see a moment of genuine tenderness between Apocalypse and another person — especially because the relationship between the would-be god and his progeny felt surprisingly earned. Moreso, when you consider that the only build up we’ve had for it came with the mention of his lost first horsemen in HoX. The Summoner Himself was expertly drawn, in lines of brutal innocence, and the ideas that he represents are certainly going to be interesting to explore. Though, come on, this being was made to be nonbinary. Thrupples are ok, Hickman, but nonbinary gender presentation is not? I loved the fact that family and romantic love are moving so close to the centre of the book, and it was good to see Cyclops being your typical mid-40’s dad (bad jokes included) who just happens to be very good at killing things.
But that centrality, the constant references to Cable as ‘son’ and Rachel (who’s GOT to be in her very late twenties, at least, by this point) as ‘kiddo’ seemed forced. As for Rachel, this is the best writing she’s had in years — and that’s not praise, considering some of her recent writers. Hickman was going for the tone of a put-upon older sister putting up with an annoying, obsessive little brother, but it really didn’t land. She came across as cruel. And yes, Cable is a teenager now, but he’s also a seasoned fighter. He isn’t a five year old. He would know better than to give a person a bomb as a gift. And Rachel would KNOW to at least try telepathic communication before letting him blow everyone up. These missteps were very difficult to overlook.
But hey. It was cool to see Cyke hinting at his new relationship(s), right?
A word on the art: Yu has a knack for expression, but this isn’t the best work he’s produced. It was elevated by the colorist. The shadows in the foliage were rich and lucid. The Summoner (and his demons) were absolutely beautiful to look at, appearing horrific and angelic in the same instant, and that was as much down to tone and shading as it was to what’s been presented by the actual line work.
In the end, this was an entertaining read, one which will inevitably further the plot of all of the books, but that’s also the reason that it was something of a disappointment. Since this is the crux of the Dawn, it should be the most compelling of the bunch. And it’s not. Let’s hope that future issues step up the game.
X-Men #2 (Hickman, Yu, Alanguilan) is compelling, playing with high stakes and complex ideas, all of which will influence the entire Dawn launch, however it's let down by less than stellar characterizations and mid-range art.
X-Men #2: When Two Become One
Writing - 6.5/106.5/10
Storyline - 7.5/107.5/10
Art - 7/107/10
Color - 9/109/10
Cover Art - 9/109/10
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