I didn’t review #1 of this book because I didn’t pick it up until last week, but I enjoyed it. It’s a different experience reading a less comedic and more traditional superhero comic about these characters, but I think it works. It’s far better for Jason Latour to try something different than just do a weak-ass imitation of what the other Jason did. This issue was more of the same really, as the true nature of the Phoenix Corporation is explained in greater detail and Latour begins the long march towards what was teased at the start of #1… Quentin Vs Evan, Phoenix Vs Apocalypse.
The issue begins with a monologue from Edan Younge, the CEO of the Phoenix Corporation about the history of the Phoenix Force, how it represents the Fire that helped civilisation be formed, but then how it was corrupted, first by the Dark Phoenix, and then by the Phoenix Five. The Corporation seem to want to bring it back, and help humanity rise again.
We then see the various reactions to the ‘Rise’ message that has been sent to every phone across the world, Quentin sees it… and runs away. Wolverine sees it, and is pissed off, ready to go stab the Phoenix Corporation in it’s face, but Storm stops him, tells him to calm down. I loved this scene between Wolverine and Storm, how she forces him to confront whether he’s doing this for Jean Grey, or for himself. Are Storm and Wolverine still a couple? I can’t remember, but I don’t think it matters too much for this scene. Anyway, the X-Men will have to go to the Phoenix Corporation anyway, as Idie shows up to tell them that Quentin has gone.
After this there’s an excellent one-page scene with Evan talking to his ‘Uncle Cluster’, AKA Fantomex, where we begin to see some seeds of enmity between him and Quentin. Evan doesn’t understand why Quentin keeps on pushing people away, when basically, he has a great life. Everyone at school loves him, Wolverine spends more time with him than anyone else, he’s got a hot girlfriend, and his future has him becoming a very powerful X-Man, whereas Evan… he has none of that. It’s going to be so tragic to see Evan succumb to his apocalyptic destiny, I’m feeling emotional already.
Wolverine and Storm consult with Anole about then Phoenix Corp, and basically, they came out of nowhere and rebuilt San Lorenzo (which was destroyed in Avengers Vs X-Men apparently) overnight. Quentin heads to their building, where he is met first by sexy nuns (his words, not mine) and then by a massive bearded guy who looks a bit like Cable. He probably is an alternate reality Cable, I dunno. He takes Quentin out, and also gives him a glimpse at his future, and the whole Phoenix Vs Apocalypse thing. Storm and Wolverine show up to try and save Quentin, but beardy kicks their butts too, blasting them with psychic attacks. First he gives Storm a vision of a claustrophobic situation (I had forgot about that particular character trait to be honest) and then showing Wolverine some of the future too, that Evan will be Apocalypse, and that they plan on killing the poor kid.
Intercut with this is another interesting scene back at the school, where Armor tries to take charge and tell the students to relax and not to worry, but Idie isn’t having any of it. The name of the school has Jean Grey in it, the Phoenix villains are bound to attack, and she even makes it personal. She’s barely older than the students and she’s just another one of Wolverine’s slightly creepy female sidekicks. The poor man’s Jubilee! Evan plays peacemaker, but it’s probably the last time he’ll be doing that!
Mahmud Asrar’s artwork is very good, it fits the more traditional style this title has now, but it has the right amount of cartoonishness in it to sell the little bits of comedy (mostly involving the Bamfs) and the youthfulness of the characters. This book has a lot to live up to in following up Jason Aaron, but so far it’s managing it by being different, but just as good in it’s own way. The mysteries of the future are starting to unfold, I’m excited to see how Latour and Asrar take us there.