Or – “I’m Not Sure I’m Happy With The Cover Symbolism…”

When they announced that they would be launching an X-book with an all-female team, my first thought was “Couldn’t this end up being a terribly executed mess?”  Of course, my second thought was “Aren’t they all on other teams already?”  The answer to both questions is, of course, “Yeeeeppp”, but how does the book actually stack up?  Your Major Spoilers review awaits!

SUMMARY

Pros
PUNK ROCK STORM!
Excellent art.
Cons

Story isn’t super-compelling.
Seems like everyone is on multiple teams…

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

READER RATING!

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (2 votes, average: 4.00 out of 5)
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X-Men2CoverX-MEN #2
Writer: Brian Wood
Artist: Olivier Coipel
Inker: Mark Morales/Scott Hanna/Olivier Coipel
Colorist(s): Laura Martin/Matt Milla/Christina Strain
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Editor: Jeanine Schaefer
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

Previously in X-Men: John Sublime is a cellular bacterial consciousness, centuries old, who has done many a dark deed in his years on Earth.  Worst of all, he left his sister Arkea to die, which has left her with a burning need for vengeance and blah blah blah fishcakes.  It’s a good thing that the ability to control technology won’t give

X-MEN DEEP CUTS.

In the first few pages of this issue, we get the return of John Sublime (who I think was a Morrison villain during his relaunch in ’05 or so), Arkea possessing former X-Man Karima “Omega Sentinel” Shapandar, from Claremont’s X-Treme run, and another instance of the school’s technology turning on our heroes.  Rogue (currently also a member of the Uncanny Avengers) leaps into battle against the possessed body of Omega Sentinel, while Psylocke (currently also a member of Uncanny X-Force) telepathically rallies the troops.  Kitty Pryde (currently also appearing in Wolverine & The X-Men) ends the conflict quickly, as the Arkea-possessed Shapandar recognizes that her power would kill her and exits.  Storm (also a member of Uncanny X-Force and appearing in Fearless Defenders) prepares to follow Arkea.  The good part about this issue is that there’s no contrived explanation of why the main cast is all female, it’s simply a situation where their presence and abilities make them the proper team for the job.  Beast and other X-Men appear in supporting roles throughout the book, which makes the roster’s lack of Y-chromosomes less gimmicky.

STORM LOOKS PHENOMENAL!

Olivier Coipel’s style has evolved constantly since his days on Legion of Super-Heroes, where I ended up dropping the title because I didn’t care for his work.  This issue looks wonderful, with Storm in particular rocking her 80s mohawk in style, and the characters each getting a unique and personal body type and look.  Jubilee’s presence in the issue is a little more troubling for me, as she has arrived with a mysterious infant in tow (one who, notably, Psylocke and Marvel Girl ((Is Rachel still Marvel Girl?)) can’t “see” with their brain-mind powers), making her arc seemingly about becoming a mom.  When John Sublime calls the child “your son,” Jubes seems quietly pleased, a development that could easily go bad on the writers.  At this point, it’s just me overthinking the situation, but having a book that makes a big deal about the all-female cast of characters creating a subplot all about a baby doesn’t quite ring straight…

THE BOTTOM LINE: STILL ANNOYED ABOUT MARVEL’S CURRENT STANCE ON TEAM MEMBERSHIP…

I’m not a heavy-duty X-Men reader, but my relatively rudimentary knowledge of continuity gave this book just enough heft that it doesn’t feel like the characters are buried in the old stuff to the point where the comic doesn’t make sense.  This issue lacks some of the charm of Uncanny X-Force (probably due to a lack of Puck) or the complex lunacy that is Uncanny Avengers, but it’s a solid comic story with some extremely lovely art, even if it’s not a story that compels me to come back next issue in a buying frenzy.  X-Men #2 isn’t the gimmick I worried it might be, delivering on the promise inherent in the X-Men name, earning an above-average 3.5 out of 5 stars overall.  I might be interested in checking out the second arc in a month or two, even if I’m not particularly compelled to know exactly what happens next issue…

Rating: ★★★½☆

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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5 Comments

  1. July 2, 2013 at 3:58 pm — Reply

    Bleah

  2. Luis Dantas
    July 4, 2013 at 3:20 am — Reply

    I’m sorry that they ressurrected the mohawk, but what would the problem with a baby in an all-female book be?

    • July 4, 2013 at 10:38 am — Reply

      It’s not a problem, except inasmuch as I worried that this book, having an all-female cast, was going to stretch to be about what the pretty much all white male creative and editorial teams think are “women’s stuff.” Having Jubilee becoming a new mom is an interesting idea (albeit one that won’t last, due to her status as eternal bubblegum-popping teenage sidekick), but it bothers me in this context.

      Also, babies in super-hero context? Never good. Nomad never recovered from it…

  3. Luis Dantas
    July 4, 2013 at 3:22 am — Reply

    As for being in multiple teams, isn’t that standard operation procedure these days? Is anyone in just one team now? Wolverine may have reached a dozen now.

    • July 4, 2013 at 10:35 am — Reply

      That doesn’t mean I don’t dislike it, especially in the case of characters whose adventure are diametrically opposed to one another, like Storm and Psylocke.

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