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Fourthman Reviews X-Men Second Coming #1

New to the Outhouse, Lee Newman brings his critical eye to the onset of the new X-Event!!!


second_coming_cover.jpgX-Men: Second Coming #1
Words by Craig Kyle and Chris Yost
Pencils by David Finch
Inks by Matt Banning
Colors by Peter Steigerwald





I’m not a big fan of the X-Men.  I’ve said this repeatedly.  The biggest reason is a lack of subtlety.  Somehow, for some reason, mutants are always an allegory.  Early on, it was pretty obvious that the book was about the Civil Rights movement.  These days, it is pretty obvious that it is about Gay Rights.  I have no problem with either of those movements, just the lack of hiding it in the pages of the book.

Thing is, I write about comics.  I sell them, too.  Despite my aversion to the concept and its execution, I kind of need to have a working knowledge of the books.  So I check the big buzz books, or in this case the beginning of a big event.  Heck, I liked Messiah Complex enough that I read until the conclusion of Messiah War .  The title was honest at least, a lack of subtlety could be forgiven and it was a compelling story, until like most things in comics, it didn’t end.

second_coming_2.jpgSecond Coming has that going for it on the outset.  It looks like we might get some resolution to the whole “No More Mutants”/Mutant Savior Hope story that began when Wanda uttered those fateful three words in an alternate reality of her own making.  Am I sore that Siege seems to have nothing to do with this?  A little.  Avengers Disassembled set the events of House of M into motion just as much as it set New Avengers into motion.  It would be nice if the Event to end all Events had something to do with ending the last one that really involved Xavier’s brood.

The big problem with this book, which is actually a pretty compelling read by Yost and Kyle  (whose New X-Men Academy X was probably the run I liked the longest in the last ten years of any X-Franchise book), is that an Event kick off one shot should feel like a beginning to a story.  It should make you want to read all of the tie in issues going forward.  Unfortunately, it feels like it is the middle of an already convoluted story.  The New Mutants are on the periphery, there is some shady X-Force stuff going down,  and readers don’t really get an explanation how Cable, who was only able to jump forward in time last time I saw him, got back.  Maybe I worry too much about the mechanics, but these seem important details that should be addressed to someone who may have just picked this book up cause the trade dress and cover are reminiscent of Messiah War.  Love them or hate them, the big Marvel events like House of M and Secret Invasion seem accessible from a new reader standpoint.  This just seems like a mess of threads I missed.  Probably because I missed them.

The basis of the story is Cable and Hope are back in our time, but X-Men Mansion is in tatters.  The creepy Cuckoo girls pick up Cable’s signature, but not Hope’s (which isn’t explained and quite frankly, bugs me as a result).  Cyclops has hope that Hope is there (see I told you, not even an attempt at subterfuge there) and the X-Men (as well as all their enemies) get in on the hunt to find that new mutant again.  There is an added urgency to the whole 181 mutant left thing (which hasn’t been mentioned in ages in any of the x-reading I have done), of course, and Cyclops seems a little desperate.  Want to know what else happens?  Buy the book! 

Cable Driving Away from a wreck

So, I’m not a fan of Finch either.  I think he is a lazy storyteller.  And this feels more like a story board than a fleshed out story, but his art is a little more consistent (read Cable and Namor look like greenless Hulks, the girls look like Iguanas, and everyone else pretty much looks the same, just in different jumpers) than usual and he actually doesn’t detract from the story.  So, honestly, it is a win in the Finch column, even if I think his over rendered and static laden panels are better suited for cover work.

Fans of the X-Men are going to find a lot to like about this book, I am sure; and I may even take a look at the next chapter, but this is not the height of the medium... its kind of just average all around.  If it gains new x-readers, it will be on the strength of the events that got us here and those were worth reading, so folks may stick it out.

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